Coach Josh Prybyla’s (Ret.) Message

The Ezra Schwartz Memorial Baseball Tournament (“ESMBT”) hosted by Maimonides School is in remembrance of, and to honor, one of the best players I had the opportunity to coach for the Maimo baseball program during my ten years as the head baseball coach. Ezra approached each and every practice and game with a relentless, gracious, driven and fearless mentality. Ezra played the game with a unique tenacity that resembled a controlled reckless abandon, and that is why I loved watching him play the game he loved so much. Ezra knew what to do in every situation, whether it be at the plate, in the outfield, at shortstop, or on the mound. In each of these situations, he always gave his teammates and our coaches everything he had to help us win a game or get better at practice. Ezra was a key contributor to the growth and culture of the Maimo baseball program, and we as a team approached every day with the same mentality in which Ezra played the game.

I had the great opportunity of being Ezra’s coach for four years and as described above, you can tell he was a great baseball player. But Ezra was much more than just a great baseball player and someone I was privileged to coach; he was a phenomenal young man with so many great characteristics and attributes that I am more honored to have called him my friend. Ezra was most passionate about three things in life: baseball, his family/friends, and his camp that he attended every summer. The one common theme to all three is that Ezra was unselfish and always put others first, which is one of his characteristics I admired most. Ezra felt more joy in seeing others succeed, whether it be his teammates, his siblings, or his campers. He took a greater sense of satisfaction in knowing that he contributed to other’s success and happiness, rather than focusing on his own. I miss Ezra every day and a part of me still hopes I will receive a call from him to catch up like we used to so many times in the past. Even though that will never be the case, I honor Ezra by approaching every aspect of my life with the same unselfishness and tenacity that Ezra approached life and the game of baseball so enthusiastically.

Even though I am no longer coaching and will be in attendance as a spectator, I look forward to this year’s ESMBT to again surpass all expectations due to the high level of competitive play and phenomenal sportsmanship displayed by all teams. Ezra would be honored to know that we are continuing this tradition and are participating in a baseball tournament in his memory. I know the only requests Ezra would have are the following: exemplify good sportsmanship, play like champions, leave everything you have on the field, and support all of the participants in the tournament. On behalf of Ezra and the Maimonides baseball program, I thank you all for participating in this amazing event and here is to another great ESMBT weekend.

Josh Prybyla
Maimonides Coach (Ret.)