One of the highlights of my summer was the opportunity to have John Leonard and his family be involved with our baseball team down in Waynesboro. John was there when we started the project and while he won't be returning for year two he will always be a big part of our organization/family.
The amount of Class that John displays was ever so apparent in his posting on his site last month where he explained his reasons for not returning. The story below was written by a man that I feel fortunate to call a Friend.
August 21, 2009
My self-imposed hiatus is over, so let's get to the off season, shall we? First of all, I've spent some time over the past couple days preparing my top lists of hitters, starters, and relievers, and I will begin those lists soon.
First, though, we have some news we have to get out of the way: I have left the ownership group of the Waynesboro Generals.
The first question that is asked in these situations is why? Let me be very, very clear about this. I am leaving the Generals because of my family. It sounds like a cliche, or at least a cop-out, but it is not. It is the truth. My daughters are nine years old (well, Anisa turns 10 today), and while they enjoyed some of the experience, they missed me, especially at bedtime, when they need that last hug and prayer from Dad. Those who know me well understand what my family means to me: it means, well, everything. I look at parenting as one shot to do the best possible job to give your children what they need to become highly functioning, well-adjusted, happy adults. I will not shirk that responsibility.
I am leaving the team on very good terms with Jerry, Chris, Crystal, and all the others down in the 'Boro. I am not running from anything besides the huge time commitment that the job entailed. Is that clear? Good.
Now, on to something fun: what did I learn this summer?
1. Jerry Carter is an amazing guy. I met no one else over the summer that combines two qualities- being a people-person and thinking about the betterment of the league- than Jerry does. Jerry has a way of making everyone feel heard and important- and trust me, as a teacher in the people business, this isn't easy. I watched him one night, harried from trying to get things done right before the game, stop because a kid wanted to ask him a question. Jerry, in a hurry, totally stopped what he was doing and listened to a child for a few minutes. Did what the kid say matter? Maybe, maybe not- but Jerry took the time to make it matter.
He also thinks- constantly- about how to make the Valley League better. This vision, in my opinion, is a critical piece as the league moves forward. Jerry is not only concerned about the Waynesboro Generals, but the Staunton Braves, and the Haymarket Senators, and the Fauquier Gators, and all the others. He wants this league to be a close second to the Cape Cod League.
2. Running a baseball team takes an incredible amount of coordination and people, but once those people are in place, good things can, and will, happen. The folks down in Waynesboro did a great job this season with their team. The team didn't win as much on the field as desired, but off the field, the season was a success. Chris and Crystal, Brian, Beth, Scott, Keith, Nat, Bill, Webber, Richard, Chuckie, Mike, Benji, and of course, the Carter family- Jerry, Linda, Sabrena, Josh, Becca, Chris, and even Charlie and Jane- did a wonderful job with this team. Mistakes were made, sure, but I wouldn't bet on those mistakes being made a second time.
3. Every fan of the Valley League should take some time to thank the folks running their hometown team. The Valley League is something special- high-quality baseball played with players from all over the country, in your small town in Virginia. The Valley League is a jewel, and too few of us are thankful about what we have. Take some time- right now!- to thank the folks running your team.
4. My daughters absolutely adore the funzone in Waynesboro. They also love the food, chasing foul balls, and every now and then, getting an autograph. Don't worry- we'll still be coming to games next season.
5. I also learned that I enjoy broadcasting baseball games. If I were a little younger, maybe I would go back to school.... ah, never mind. Hanging out with Chris down the left field line and chatting was a blast. I feel like we fell into a rhythm in most games and did a very good job describing the action. (And Chris eats a hot dog faster than anyone I've ever seen!)
This all started with a sit-down with Jerry Carter back in November, when he offered me a chance to come along for the ride. Even though I'm hopping off the wagon at this point, I'll still be doing my little blog, and watching from afar. And maybe showing up at Kate Collins every now and then, hopefully with daughters in tow. Jerry, a million thanks for allowing me the opportunity to join you for this little while. I believe that it won't be long before Waynesboro's organization is run as well, if not better, than every team in this league. Waynesboro, your team is in good hands.
Posted at 07:42 AM in
August 17, 2009