I am pleased and honored to be the guest speaker at the Senior League World Series banquet this Friday at the Elks Club in Bangor.
What an extravaganza Little League for the older boys has become.
The Little League itself was first founded in 1939 by three people, Carl Stolz and George and Bert Bebble. The Senior League for boys followed in 1961. It’s now for those ages 15-16.
Hmmm, I’m thinking. What does an old dyed-in-the-wool high school basketball coach tell an assembled bunch of all-stars from around the world that will give them some type of memory to take home beside the joy and wonder of competing for a world title?
Obviously, I should tell these young teens about the significance the tryout process for Little League had in my own life in Brewer, Maine, in 1961.
Like most neighborhood kids, I made my way to the city’s historic Doyle Field for tryouts that first spring night. I continually came up short in my throwing and fielding efforts because I was tired. My parents finally dragged me – literally – to the family doctor, who promptly put me in what is now Eastern Maine Medical Center for a thorough check-up.
The news was grim for a 10-year old, but a stiff upper lip and a lot of encouragement saw me through the rough spots in my journey to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
All the way down there I could only recall the one highlight of my brief tryout on Doyle Field.
The long fly ball that cleared the fence on the Wilson Street side of the field will always give me a memory of what might have been that summer.
Or, I could tell the youngsters that because of the fine examples of the coaches in my life, I chose teaching and coaching as my life’s work.
Yeah, that might be good.
Then, of course, there is always the obligatory reference to the example these young boys set for all the eyes and the ears that are upon them for the Series action.
I’m guessing they already know, or have certainly been told, that they represent more than themselves each and every time they take the field at what is becoming historic Mansfield Complex in Bangor, built with young people in mind by generous people such as Stephen and Tabitha King, who have left their generous marks all around the area so people may prosper in all walks of life.
I consider it high praise indeed to be a part of it all.
My own athletic beginning started on a baseball field, and I’m fortunate to add the Senior League banquet to a list that includes a lot of championship fare.
Let’s hope Mother Nature continues to cooperate and provides fair skies over the stadium.
30-Second Time Out
The on-again, off-again Boston Red Sox are certainly not putting off the public posture that they are ready to make a serious run at another title.
Newly-acquired Jason Bay has certainly been a nice fit in left field, but the pitching staff has been erratic, and that inconsistency may ultimately spell doom for how this season ends.
I will not complain, however, because two titles since ’04 should keep the grumbling at bay- no pun intended – for a while.