Lansing coach sees family grow stronger through pandemic
Michael Basler’s pandemic experience as a coach and parent was different than most others. The Lansing High School baseball head coach was just a few weeks into preparing for the 2020 season before the COVID-19 pandemic ended sports across the globe.
The loss of the 2020 spring athletic season was a hit for the entire Basler family as Michael’s son Peyton was competing for his father in his junior season and his daughter Bradi was preparing for her first season of collegiate softball at Kansas City Kansas Community College.
“That was hard as a coach and father,” he said, “but it was a huge positive for our family and others around the country. The COVID-19 spring brought our family together for a good six weeks where we spent a lot of family time together watching movies, playing games, eating three meals together, working out together and having conversations that I will cherish forever.”
By the time winter came around Michael was back on the bench helping coach the basketball team and Peyton was on the floor as one of the team’s starting guards for a second consecutive season. He was an all-league and all-state selection on the court for his junior and senior seasons, helping lead the Lions to winning seasons.
On the diamond, he was an all-conference and all-state selection at shortstop in his 2019 and 2021 seasons while also boasting a 4.0 GPA in the classroom, which was music to his father’s ears. He is committed to joining the baseball program at Charleston Southern University in the fall.
“I’ve had a front-row seat to all his basketball games and a great dugout view for baseball games,” he said. “I got to spend the seasons working with him and his teammates to achieve all that we could as a team.”
“I’m extremely proud of all the honors he received in his high school career and as impressive as these are some of the things I will cherish most are all the before/after practice and summer break time he put in to work on his craft and make himself the player he is in both sports. I couldn’t ask for more from any student-athlete. The fact that I also got to call him son was an added bonus.”
In her first season with KCKCC, Bradi put together a masterpiece, winning the first Triple Crown in the Jayhawk Conference since 2015 as a freshman. She led the conference in batting average (.503), runs batted in (80) and home runs (20). It was just the second Triple Crown performance in the Jayhawk Conference’s history and Bradi made her’s special by also leading the league in pitching wins, securing 20 victories in the circle – a feat never accomplished in the league. The conference freshman of the year was a two-sport standout with the Lions throughout her high school career and didn’t slow down at the next level.
“It was like watching a movie,” her dad said. “It was just an unbelievable season to have. Bradi has always been a very successful softball player and her honors were tremendous throughout her high school career.”
Michael recalled many fond memories from Bradi’s freshman season including seeing her hit her last couple home runs of the year and will never forget watching her compete in the regional tournament.
“There’s nothing better than hearing your son who is committed to an NCAA DI school to play baseball yell, ‘That’s my sister!’ when she hit a grand slam in the regional tournament to beat a team they’d previously lost to all three times they’d played in the regular season and tournament,” he said. “Just a special memory to cherish.”
Michael said his experience having his own father as a coach during his career helped prepare him for working with both of his kids and taught him a lot of lessons.
“I learned to cherish every day we had together,” he said, “and I approached that the same way with Bradi and Peyton. I know that a lot of people wonder about the after games and practice discussions around the dinner table but honestly, we all learned to wear different hats; coach-player, father-son, father-daughter and teammates. I learned a lot from Peyton and Bradi on how to be a better coach and father and for that, I will always be grateful.”
As for the time of coaching his children has run out, Michael is just looking forward to watching them succeed in the future.
“When you get to an ending its natural and good to reflect upon what you have done. I’m truly blessed to have had the opportunities that coaching has provided for me. I look forward to enjoying being a father and supporter to both Peyton and Bradi as they begin/continue their college careers.”