It’s been a long time since Kayleen Sidisky hasn’t had a ballgame to go to, to practice for or to worry about.
“I’ve been playing Little League or going to my dad’s practices since I was like five or six,” she said Friday.
Sidisky decided she needed a break and has submitted her resignation as softball coach at Bald Eagle Area.
The former Bellefonte High School and Bloomsburg University standout took over the BEA program in September of 2010 at the age of 24. She led the Lady Eagles to a 41-21 mark in three seasons. BEA advanced as far as the District 6 Class AA semifinals last season.
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The Lady Eagles were 13-8 this season and fell 5-4 against eventual District 6 runner-up Ligonier Valley. Following that loss, Sidisky contemplated her future with the program, which won PIAA titles in 2005 and 2009.
“I took about two weeks after the season to think,” said Sidisky. “I talked to my family and boyfriend and I just feel after 19 or 20 years of every summer and every spring of playing and coaching softball that I just need a break.
“I want to focus on some other things in life and go from there. I want to finish up my masters degree (in classroom technology).That was a big thing. I just feel like rather than being mediocre at multiple things, I can be really good at one or two things.”
Sidisky informed her players of her decision Friday afternoon.
“I think they were shocked,” Sidisky said of their reaction to her decision. “I told them it has nothing to do with them. I care for them. I’m still there in the school and they can see me whenever they want. I wish them luck.”
Sidisky said she learned much during her three years at the helm of the program.
“Coaching in general was a little bit different than maybe I thought it would be,” she said. “It’s hard not to have as much control on the outcome of the game.”
While there were several highlights on the field, most notably last season’s seven-run, seventh-inning comeback in a 7-6 upset of top-seeded Ligonier Valley in the district playoffs, Sidisky said she will remember a lot more than the games.
“It was just the relationships with the kids,” Sadisky said. “The first year I coached I was very fortunate to coach some of the best players that Bald Eagle has seen with Taylor Parsons, Kelly Chambers and Lily Glunt.
“I really enjoyed the kids. They made every day going to practice fun. This year’s crew was great. I always told them, ‘I love you guys. I love hanging out with you. It was fun to be around you.’ They always kept it light. Coaching a pitcher like Megan Dudish is always an honor, too.”
Sidisky also made memories with her father Len and sister Deandra, who both coached in the program.
“Not having that opportunity to coach with them, that made it hard,” she said of her decision to resign. “That was something I really had to think about because how many people get that opportunity. That’s so cool that we can do that as a family. That made it tough. That was one of the things that really weighed on me. I felt bad leaving the kids, but still this is the best for everyone.”
Sidisky, a member of the District 6 Hall of Fame for her playing prowess, hasn’t given up on the idea of competing herself. She said she may play some slow-pitch softball and has a passion for another sport.
“I’d like to run some races,” she said. “That’s one thing I really want to get into is running and do something competitively in a different outlet. ... I think I miss the competitveness of actually being involved. I’d like to find a new outlet to do that.”
Sidisky said she’ll be more focused on the main forcus of her career teaching. She leads classes in history and drivers education.
“I’m a teacher not a coach,” she said. “I can do some better stuff there and work with kids in a different way.”
And she hasn’t ruled out coaching again someday.
“In some role or some aspect, I’ll be back,” she said. “Whether it be softball or some other sport, who knows?”