17 oz Insulated Bivo Trio Mini

21 oz Insulated Bivo Trio

21 oz Non-Insulated Bivo One

25 oz Non-Insulated Bivo Duo

Bivo Collaborations

Quench'd: Building Confidence

For this week's Quench'd series, we've brought on my dad: Ed Hamel. Ed has been involved in sport since he was a kid; from baseball and whitewater canoeing (he was a national champion) to nordic skiing and cyclocross. While he is an incredible athlete himself, he is best known for his coaching and his laugh. He started the youth nordic ski program in Western Massachusetts with my mom, and he coached many athletes who went on to race World Cups. He also coached the current Head Coach of the US Nordic Ski Team, Matt Whitcomb

I asked Matt to say something about my dad and he wrote, “After my parents, it’s Ed who impacted my life more than anyone. My life of adventure is the result of the way Ed coached us as kids; every workout was an adventure. These days, my coaching philosophy at the Olympic level is also tied to Ed: Get faster by working together. If we can connect as a team, then we can win races as individuals.”  We could all learn a lot from Ed about coaching, and, today, he shares a story of a coach who helped him and his team build confidence below. Welcome, Dad ❤️ - Carina

Author: Ed Hamel

I remember everything about the dugouts at Mackenzie Field. They were both on the first base line side. It was all made of concrete–even the overhung roof. You entered from the sides and went down three steps. There were long benches to sit on. As an aspiring baseball player, this was the place to hang out. 

For many young baseball players, the transition from little league baseball to playing on a full sized field isn’t easy. The base paths are a lot longer, and the pitching mound is much further from home plate. I was a thirteen year old in the process of making that transition.

I was lucky enough to live across the street from the field, so I had actually spent a lot of time there as an even younger kid. Mackenzie had bright lights for nighttime playing and they hosted countless high school and adult league games under these lights. I would hang around the ball field with my friends, having fun, barely watching the game, but chasing a lot of foul balls.

Mackenzie was my home field for the Babe Ruth League. There were a dozen of us kids, all motivated to play baseball. We were doing all the things we learned from playing Little League. We practiced hitting, catching grounders and fly balls, pitching, and running bases. No one liked to bunt. Heck, we even had our own water fountain. The only thing we didn’t have was a coach.


Not having a coach didn’t stop us from playing and practicing on our own. Some of us had our own bats. Everyone had their own glove and we had plenty of baseballs. Remember, we used to chase foul balls. A lot of those balls seemed to disappear! While it didn’t matter to us, not having a coach was a big problem according to the league officials. We were told that our season was in jeopardy and we had to find a coach ASAP. 

Next thing we knew, a league official met with us to say that they may have found a coach. One day, as we were practicing, we noticed this man walking toward us from center field who we didn’t know. Practice stopped and we ran into the dugout. He was older than us, an adult. In retrospect, he may have been 19 or 20 years old. He introduced himself as Ray Ferro, not Mr. Ferro, but, Ray. He seemed confident, and he told us he was interested in becoming our coach. 

But, there was a catch. Ray admitted he knew nothing about baseball. He never played. Football was his sport. Ray continued, telling us that we would need to teach him the game. He would rely on us to learn about baseball but he would be there to support us. He said he was a fast learner and wanted to learn more about the game. Next he told us that we needed to make a decision about accepting him as a coach. We were left alone in the dugout for the team to discuss Ray. We came to a really quick consensus. This guy was being totally honest with us regarding his skills. I remember thinking how cool it was that he was just plain willing to take us on. The team vote was unanimous. I remember Ray’s big smile when he came back into the dugout. There was a sense that we were proud to have him and that he was proud to have us.

I don’t remember what our win/loss record was that year. But, I do remember Ray’s enthusiasm, focus, and positive emotions. I’m sure I learned a lot about baseball that year. My biggest take away from that season, however, was the confidence that Ray gave to me and the team. I carry that with me to this day.  Thank you Ray. You were the best.

Ed and his high school team after winning the championship. He is directly to the right of his coach holding the plaque. 

6 Responses

Jeanne Yvonne Tucker

Jeanne Yvonne Tucker

April 11, 2024

Fast Eddy! What a refreshing, delightful man. Straight shooting, go-big-or go home kind of guy. An inspiration on skis, atop a bike and, most importantly, in life. Ed Hamel never ceases to amaze me.

Harry Rock

Harry Rock

April 08, 2024

Excellent article Ed! I can see where you get your coaching style from. You have been a huge influence on a generation of young athletes who developed their own skills while having fun and achieving their own goals! It always impresses me when I am with you and hear someone talk to you about the influence you were on them as their coach. Job well done! 😊

Jeremy Powers

Jeremy Powers

April 05, 2024

Ed! Loved reading this story, both about what you instilled in others and what others instilled in you! You’ve given a lot of your time over the years to others and led by example, something we can all aspire to and keep the cycle going!

Thanks for sharing this one Ed & the Bivo crew!

Bob FitzPatrick

Bob FitzPatrick

April 03, 2024

Eddie, what a great read on those who came before us, to inspire us on the paths we take in life!

Tim Eliassen

Tim Eliassen

April 03, 2024

This is a fantastic piece that highlights how mutual respect and support from top to bottom is the foundation which leads to amazing team and individual performance. This is true in athletic endeavors, but it is also true for any team whether a submarine crew of 100, sailboat crew of 5, or Fortune 500 company of thousands Without this mutual respect the effort is doomed, but with it there are no bounds.
Thank you Carina, Ed and Matt.

Laureen Fontaine

Laureen Fontaine

March 30, 2024

Thank you for sharing a wonderful “Holyoke” story. Anyone growing up in Holyoke can relate!

Leave a comment (all fields required)

Comments will be approved before showing up.