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  • I wanna read a letter that I received from the players on

  • a middle school softball team in the Bronx, New York.

  • Dear Ellen, we want to tell you about this great man, who has not

  • only been a teacher and a coach, but a father, many of us do not have fathers and

  • we were lost before this amazing human stepped in and changed that.

  • He has two children of his own, but,

  • to him, every girl on the ladies' Tigers softball team is his daughter.

  • There was a time when we thought we we're losing him to stomach cancer but

  • he continued to fight for all of us, he is incredible and we want the whole world to

  • know what he does for all girls from the South Bronx, love, the Lady Tigers.

  • That's just one of the amazing letters we received about this guy.

  • >> [APPLAUSE]

  • >> Chris >> [APPLAUSE]

  • >> Go on now and get players.

  • Before we start talking I want everyone to see more of your story.

  • >> Hi, my name is Chris Astacio I'm a PE teacher in the Tyler 1 South Bronx school.

  • I'm also the head coach of the Lady Tigers.

  • My first year, I knew the school was struggling.

  • It was very chaotic.

  • There were fights every day.

  • >> And the most brutal fights will amongst females.

  • And I realized they needed something to be proud about, they needed something to come

  • together with, and it just popped into my head, softball.

  • It was very hard in the beginning because I had girls that did not like each other.

  • And so instead of teaching softball I was teaching girls how to respect each other,

  • how to respect themselves, how to value themselves.

  • And it took awhile, but it slowly but surely became a family of sisters.

  • >> These girls inspire me every single day.

  • I love them.

  • These are my family.

  • This is my dad, that's my sisters.

  • >> When I see him, I see the father that I never had.

  • Just because he's not my father by blood doesn't mean I can't still love him,

  • and I can't still call him my dad.

  • >> In the beginning I kept on trying to quit, and quit, and quit.

  • And he wouldn't let me quit.

  • I think I just thought of myself so

  • much that I felt that I couldn't be happy.

  • A dad is someone that's there for me,

  • it meant a lot because he's not even my father.

  • I don't know what I would do without him.

  • >> I tell my girls, we're a family first, team second.

  • In 2009 I was diagnosed with stomach cancer.

  • I had laparoscopic surgery where they took a third of my stomach out.

  • I didn't think the pain was going to end.

  • >> And we just saw how strong he would stay for us.

  • He would always say that he was fine though we knew he wasn't.

  • >> I always tell these girls never quit.

  • Don't ever quit.

  • And what kind of example would I be if I quit?

  • I feel like I'm cancer free because of my family and my girls.

  • [MUSIC]

  • [APPLAUSE] >> I just want you to see that this is

  • not just about soccer.

  • This is about improving these girls' lives, giving them hope,

  • giving them something to live for.

  • Because they deserve it.

  • They deserve it.

  • [MUSIC]

  • >> [APPLAUSE] >> [APPLAUSE] What

  • an inspiring story that is.

  • And what made you decide that this was what your path is?

  • >> I'm sorry, I love these girls, that's first of all, I love these girls.

  • I had a sister who was similar to these girls.

  • She grew up in the Bronx and she made bad decisions, bad choices.

  • Ultimately, she passed away.

  • And she always use to tell me, you should become a teacher, should become a teacher.

  • And, when she died, that's when I made the decision to become a teacher.

  • And, [SOUND] I'm sorry.

  • >> No, it's very emotional, and we surprised you.

  • Your sister was 31 years old.

  • >> Yes.

  • >> And then not only, here's what I think is amazing,

  • because you said the girls were fighting.

  • They weren't getting along.

  • Nobody was really paying attention in school.

  • You made them focus on something that's not only good for

  • them in a healthy lifestyle, but it's changed everyone in the school, hasn't it?

  • They become role models for every girl in the school.

  • I mean every girl wants to be them.

  • In the beginning it was just a few girls who wanted to join softball, like seven.

  • This past year it was 60 girls wanting to join softball.

  • >> [APPLAUSE] >> It's transformation.

  • It's not only they transform the school, they transformed themselves.

  • In the beginning I saw girls that were very angry.

  • We wanted to give up, and four years,

  • three years later, these girls, they're leaders of their school.

  • I mean, they go outside in their community, people recognize them.

  • Those are those girls in the orange shirts.

  • >> How is he like a father?

  • Who were you saying is like a father and what way is he like a father?

  • What we mean by he's like a father, he shows you love that,

  • if you don't have a father, he's there for you.

  • The first that I ever came to the school, he showed me love and I felt like a very

  • special bond towards him, because I don't have a very big connection with my dad.

  • So he's kinda there for me.

  • >> [APPLAUSE] >> Who's Kylie and

  • Briana and Caroline.

  • Who's who?

  • >> I'm Kylie.

  • >> Kylie.

  • >> I'm Briana.

  • >> I'm Caroline.

  • >> And Briana, how is he like a dad to you?

  • To me it's not just like a father, well he's not like my father, he is my father.

  • Because, at a young age I lost my father.

  • I didn't have a connection with my father and just for someone like

  • Gustachio to come into my life and make such a big change it means so much to me.

  • >> I bet.

  • >> In so many ways.

  • >> I bet.

  • And how is he like a dad to you?

  • He is like a dad to me because I have a lot of problems at home,

  • it was my father so I had to move to New York for my mum.

  • So like I never had that type of relationship with my dad.

  • Like it was always fighting and cursing me out so

  • when I came to the school having him >> Caring, and

  • always checking on me would impact my life and yeah.

  • >> It's really amazing.

  • And, we have a lot of teachers and leaders in schools on the show, as you know.

  • And what you're doing is so important, because

  • these girls are telling us what their lives would have been like without you.

  • So the fact that you have made an impact,

  • the fact that you're battling cancer, the fact that you have helped these girls,

  • I know you're using your own money a lot of times with different things.

  • So Walmart has been an amazing partner this year with us, and, they love to help

  • people like you continue on helping and giving back to your community.

  • We're gonna give you this check for

  • 20,000 dollars from Walmart.

  • >> [APPLAUSE]

I wanna read a letter that I received from the players on

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An Exceptional Softball Coach Who's Changing Lives

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    吳即平 posted on 2019/03/27
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