They are the "Odd Couple" of Little League coaches. One believes winning is the only thing that matters while the other thinks it should be about having fun.
These two philosophies about baseball and life collided head on last week at the Boca Grande Community Center Auditorium during the Royal Palm Players production of 'Rounding Third,' a play about two Little League coaches whose differing philosophies create tension and amusement.
The two-man play showed to moderate houses from Thursday to Sunday giving audiences a feel for what it was like to be kids again as the actors spoke to the audience as if they were players on the team.
Charlie Tyler, left, is accosted by Nick Nichols in the Royal Palm Players production of 'Rounding Third” at the Boca Grande Community Center Auditorium.
Despite one of the stars nearly getting his eye poked out by a flying whistle during the final dress rehearsal, Rounding Third went off without a hitch.
Nick Nichols played the old-school head coach, Don. He said his character doesn't really understand his assistant's attitude.
"I'm a little abrupt with Michael, stern but fair to the kids. His idea of character is a different than most," Nichols said. "It breaks the fourth wall, and the audience plays the kids."
Who: Royal Palm Players
What: "Secrets of a Soccer Mom"
When: Feb. 9-12, 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday
Where: Boca Grande Community Center Auditorium
Why: A sons-versus-moms soccer game starts out as friendly fun but soon competitive fires are stoked as the engaging ladies become intent on scoring. Family fun.
Charlie Tyler played Michael, an assistant who knows more about curling than baseball. He is there to spend more time with his son, who has never played the game.
"He's the new coach and he thinks everyone should participate and have fun," Tyler said. "He's wrapped tight, but slowly we learn more about him. With Don, what you see is what you get."
The two men evolve during the season as Don's marital woes and Michael's mourning his wife create problems at work. Though you never see them, you learn about the players, too.
By the end, both men have grown and learned from each other. Michael, for one, also becomes infatuated with winning.
"He becomes a baseball guy and he learns he wants to win just as much as Don," Taylor said.
Rounding Third, written by Richard Dresser, was directed by Dan Higgs. Dresser got the idea after getting involved in Little League with his own child.
"His son came home from Little League after an incident and got involved," Higgs said. "His perception got altered. But it's an interesting piece, and baseball is just a setting."