I came away from the Senior League World Series banquet the other night at the Elks Club, feeling warm and satisfied that the spirit of volunteerism was alive and well as far as Senior League baseball was concerned.

Parents, coaches, and tournament coordinators were gathered to celebrate the week-long event in Bangor. I sat in awe, watching again the great length adults go to to promote kids.

With the beginning of fall classes on the horizon, I thought today might be as good a time as any to pause and salute the hundreds of volunteers across the region, who step up to the plate and coach, officiate, or organize the many athletic events that keep our young people active.

We need to add to this list the “paid” interscholastic coaches, too.

These people may receive a salary, but their wages are poor, and a lot of coaches I know are investing that money in equipment or related needs that enhance their own school’s programs.

Consider that, then consider the price of gas these days that all of these fine people pay to get to and from their fields of play.

Teachers one and all, the life lessons these folks impart to their charges all go a long way to aid the maturation process that is involved in athletics.

I was fortunate as a growing boy to have some fine adults in my life, who volunteered their time to coach me in one sport or another.

At the Columbia Street Baptist Church in Bangor, we had guys like Bill Tuck and Don Searway, who gave of their time tirelessly on weeknights and weekends so that kids like me could begin formative training in sports such as basketball and baseball.

I have many fond memories of overnight camping trips that involved sports. The hundreds of hours that I spent in that old Columbia Street gym played a large part in my selection of teaching and coaching as my life’s work.

Add Richard Dow’s name to that list in teaching basketball fundamentals to a growing boy of 10 or 12, and you have a pretty solid list of volunteers, who gave of themselves for kids.

I went straight from a church gym to the YMCA where I encountered more of the same.

Each and every one of those volunteers has had a hand in the progression I made into coaching.

All across the world, seemingly, men and women step up to take their turns in aiding the growth, physically and emotionally, of kids who simply love to play.

In your travels, make an effort to thank those who care about your son or daughter by volunteering yourself. You’ll be glad you did.

30-Second Time Out

I wish someone would explain to me why it has taken this long for Bangor City Fathers to combine the dates and the efforts of the American Folk festival and the Senior League World Series. It seems like a “no brainer” to do so.

With thousands of people in town for the festival, wouldn’t it be logical to wrap the two into one package and include the goings-on at Mansfield Stadium on Thirteenth Street in Bangor? Couldn’t we be shuttling people back and forth from one place to the other and advertising that?

With national TV exposure of ESPN covering the baseball action, the logical choice is to have two classy events going on simultaneously.