When the baseball team takes the field, the Diamond Squad is always on the move.
After each play, they collect bats, shag out-of-bounds balls and maintain an eye on equipment.
During a game, the four Squad members sit two per side, all in matching navy warm-up suits. Except for one. All of the previous year’s uniforms are much too small for the single male on the team.
Ron Georgette, an adult student and retired military man, is the first male member of Diamond Squad, the formerly all-female baseball game operations group.
“It wasn’t one of those things that started out as ‘Hey I’m a guy and I want to be part of your operation. If you don’t let me in, I’m going to raise cane.’ That wasn’t the start of this,” Georgette said. “It was the simple wanting and desire to help out the baseball team and it kind of grew from there.”
During the off-season, the group formerly called Diamond Girls made some structural changes that included increased marketing for the games and opening up the organization to interested parties of both genders, said operations graduate assistant and Diamond Squad manager Kate Barnett.
The change from an all-female operations team occurred due to Title IX stipulations requiring equal opportunities in all educational activities to members of both genders.
Getting interested males to apply was mostly unsuccessful until Georgette saw a flyer for the group hanging outside of the cafeteria.
His interest in the group was simple – opportunity.
“I’ve always been involved in some kind of sport or physical activity so it was an opportunity I saw to help out the baseball team, he said.
“I have coached baseball so I was looking at it as an opportunity to maybe learn more. Put myself in my situation so I can learn more because I do plan on picking up that coach’s hat again.”
But Georgette was in for a minor surprise when he discovered he would be the only male in the group of 11, a fact Georgette admits his wife got a kick out of.
“It was a little awkward at first but I thought ‘I have never quit anything before in my life and I wasn’t going to let that be an obstacle,’” he said. “God puts you in certain situations for a reason so I need to do the best that I can and learn from it.”
“It turned out to be a good experience. Of course when you are old enough to be everyone’s father, it’s a little awkward. I have two daughters that are 26 and 24 for so I know it’s not like I don’t know how to deal with girls.”
Awkwardness aside, the rest of the Diamond Squad has enjoyed Georgette’s presence.
“Ron has been great. He knows a lot and gets a long with the girls,” said Barnett.
Georgette, who spent 21 years in the Army, is currently a sophomore at Belmont. Thanks to the post-9/11 GI bill, he is able to attend the school completely free of cost.
“Being here at Belmont is a true blessing because how many people get an opportunity to be here? Especially when you look at the costs.”
Outside of Diamond Squad and working towards a business degree, Georgette works full time at Supportive Services for Homeless Veterans, the only veterans program in Middle Tennessee that focuses on providing funds for struggling veterans for housing related expenses.
“We try to keep as many veterans from being out on the streets as possible,” he said.