Jonathan Stewart Helps Green Hornets Teams Stay Strong


Like many great dads, Severna Park resident and U.S. Air Force veteran Jonathan Stewart did his stint volunteering and coaching his kids in youth sports, particularly with the Greater Severna Park Athletic Association (GSPAA) — Green Hornets. His wife, Tracy, also volunteered. It was a fun family affair.

Aidan, now 19, played lacrosse, soccer and baseball; Ryan, 15, played soccer, basketball and baseball; and Brennan, 11, played soccer and baseball.

“I coached all of them in baseball as their head coach or assistant coach and helped in the other sports when needed,” Stewart said.

Eventually, Aiden aged out, and Ryan and Brennan no longer played on teams. But Stewart kept going for over a decade and is still going. He now serves as assistant to the Green Hornets baseball commissioner, Michael Phillips.

“It’s funny, Michael and I talk about this every year — all of our kids have aged out or are not playing,” Stewart said. “He and I don’t have ‘skin in the game,’ but we like the organization. I like doing the background stuff and keeping it organized. We want to keep it going.”

In his role, Stewart manages 45 teams, from the 8-year-old “Rookies” down to the 3-year-old “Little Gloves.” He “seeds” the teams, determines team counts, recruits volunteer coaches, schedules practices and games, assembles and distributes gear, and schedules umpires.

The GSPAA offers an assortment of youth sports opportunities, including flag football, rugby, track and field, a lacrosse clinic, select baseball, cheer, field hockey, football, select soccer, rec soccer, select lacrosse and select softball.

“The number of players continues to grow,” Stewart said. “In our baseball program this season, we have swelled well past our pre-COVID years and have run out of field space. It’s a good problem to have, but it makes scheduling very challenging.”

He estimates his volunteer time is three to six hours a week in January as he and Phillips organize and evaluate the equipment, then two to three hours a night once everyone is registered. That commitment continues for several weeks before the season starts to wind down.

Stewart enjoys volunteering for the organization. He played sports as a kid, so that’s naturally a part of the appeal, but he also likes the relationships he’s formed as he sees coaches, kids and other volunteers return each year.

It’s not always easy recruiting volunteers, especially coaches, Stewart admitted. “Though once we get them in, they end up loving it,” he said. “They stay and come back year after year.”

Of course, so does Stewart.

Asked what he enjoys doing in his spare time, he responded, “I like to build stuff. I like DIY (do-it-yourself) projects, starting and finishing them. That’s like baseball. I like to start the season, get them going, and then it ends.”

Yet, for Stewart, Phillips, the coaches, volunteers and players, the memories of the camaraderie, accomplishments and fun will continue to live on.


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