Kim Schmick is quite possibly one of Portage’s busiest women. From her job as a paralegal at Manning & Mouratides P.C, to spending every night at the softball field either coaching or fulfilling her duties as Portage Jr. Miss Softball’s treasurer, she rarely rests and would not have it any other way.
Born in Gary and raised in Portage, Schmick never needed to think too hard about what she wanted to do with her life. She developed an interest in law during high school, and pursued it while studying at Commonwealth Business College, a now-closed campus in Merrillville.
“I’ve always loved law,” Schmick said. “I started at the law firm in ’98 and just fell in love with everything I do with my job. I’ve always loved it and I don’t think I’ll ever leave it!”
As a paralegal, Schmick does just about everything short of representing in the courtroom or other official settings. For most clients, she is the face or voice of the firm – making calls, gathering info and doing the legwork necessary to get the best possible outcome.
“I love talking to the clients and learning all new aspects of law,” she said. “There’s never a dull moment working at a law firm, there’s always something new happening.”
After finishing a day in Manning & Mouratides’ Dyer office, Schmick heads back home to Portage to spend the evening at the Portage Jr. Miss Softball Complex. She first got involved with the organization when her husband coached her daughter’s team, and later became a board member. The group ran short on coaches at one point, and Schmick volunteered to coach a tee-ball team despite having no first-hand playing experience.
“I said I would do it for one year, and now I’m on my tenth year of coaching 4- and 5year-olds,” Schmick said. “I learned from watching my husband coach his team, and doing a lot of research on the computer about how to coach youth sports.”
Due to her busy schedule packed with work and her own kids, she did not plan on coaching long-term. That changed after spending a few weeks with her team, and seeing just how big an impact the sport made.
“The kids’ expressions when they first put the bat on the ball, off the coach or a machine, is my favorite thing,” she said. “It makes your heart melt, because you work with them two or three times a week at practice and then it finally clicks for them and they hit the ball. It’s the most enjoyable moment.”
After a decade of experience, Schmick said the biggest lesson she has learned is that participation is about more than physical health or having fun, it teaches life lessons.
“I’m making sure those kids feel that they’re a part of the team, that they know the fundamentals of sportsmanship and discipline,” Schmick said. “It’s just like how a teacher has to lead their class, and it makes someone feel so proud when they finally catch on to something.”
Every year Schmick considers retiring from coaching, but remembering those faces lighting up keeps bringing her back.
“Coaching is just such a wonderful thing, and I don’t know what I would’ve done without it.”