By MIRIAM FINDER ANNENBERG
Journal & Topics Reporter
In January 2017, the village of Rosemont took over ownership of the Chicago Bandits, 5-1/2 years after the National Pro Fastpitch league team began playing at The Ballpark at Rosemont.
At that time, Toni Calmeyn, who has spent nine years working in finance for Rosemont, found herself with a new title: general manager.
“I think things are going incredibly well,” said Calmeyn.
After months of preparation and planning, Calmeyn is finally working directly with the players and coaches for the Bandits’ first season under new ownership, which began June 1.
“It’s been awesome,” said first-year head coach Sharonda McDonald. “The way that they’ve been treating us has been amazing.”
For Calmeyn, who still holds her finance position with the village, the most challenging part of her new role was learning to manage the logistics, including scheduling game travel, managing rain delays and signing new players.
“There are a million moving pieces,” she said. “It’s just constant; it never stops.”
Calmeyn spoke of receiving texts at 2:30 a.m. from a potential player and emails filling her inbox from 6:30 a.m. until midnight.
While Calmeyn spent years coaching her daughter’s softball teams, stepping into a management role is new for her.
“Every single thing that I touch and I do and I learn is brand new,” she said. “It’s hard when you don’t know the pieces that are coming at you.”
Calmeyn said she has learned a lot since she took over as GM, in no small part through the help of others.
“I’ve had some great people reach out to me,” she said, including the team’s first owner. “Some of the people from the league office will help me when they can.”
She’s also been utilizing the relationships she’s made in nearly a decade of working in budgeting and finance for Rosemont’s many venues.
She said Rosemont officials and employees have been instrumental in helping with the team, lending a hand in everything from building a website to designing the promotional billboard displayed along I-294.
“When they do something, they do it well, and everyone steps up to help,” she said. “Without the help of everyone reaching out to us, we wouldn’t be where we are.”
Calmeyn said so far she’s been having fun, especially now that the season is underway and the team is in Rosemont. She said the players have incredible energy, even when their schedules call for arriving back in Rosemont from an away game at 4 a.m. and spending the next day visiting youth teams and participating in media outreach.
“They work so hard; their schedule is so brutal,” she said. “You just have to match their energy.”
The Bandits are 11-9 this season, currently third in the league.