You'll Be Missed Skipper---

A man I greatly admired passed away not long ago and his stewardship of those under his tutlage produced some of the finest men I have had the privilege to know and work with. And one of his favorite sayings that has guided me along the way was … after asking himself… " when I looked at myself in the mirror this moring… what did I see?" … his response would be… “Yup… we’re doing just fine.”

Simnple words that would go beyond the casual observer… but when placed in context to his actions prior to, or after the fact of any situation, gave light to his rhyme and reasons.

Case in point…

We were playing against a club who had a player that was that club’s “ole sage” and this game was going to be his last in uniform. He had been with this club for many years and his reputation for honesty, fair play, and just being an overall nice guy was well known. In those days the lack of fanfare and hoopla surronding the promotion ($) of that league didn’t do much for a lot of us just scraping by, and this turned a lot of guys hard and sour … but not him. Heck, even the umpires like this player … and if you knew anything about the crews that were contracted to call our games, that alone would warrant a year end bonus.

Going into the sixth inning, second and thrid base had runners and the go ahead run just stepped into the box … and this guy was it. It was also his last time at bat… a notice the inning before scratchd his number from the lineup.

Our Skipper calls “time”, walks out to the mound and without delay says something to my guy and my backstop … while holding his arms out, stopping our infield crew from approaching the mound to find out what’s going on.

The very next pitch … ka-nock, gone! The guy just stood there… dumfounded! My backstop watched too … until he saw the guy watching the clouds, when he reached out with his catcher’s mitt… pushed the guy a bit on the butt and must have said something under his breath.

While rounding the bases, he was still watching were the ball went … AND… missed touching second base … AND missed step’g on home plate on his way back to the dugout to a rousing cheer from his teammates.

WE SAID NOTHING.

Blue turned around, bent over, dusted off hom plate, scuffed his feet over the imprint of the guy’s cleats in the dirst … missing home plate, tossed a new ball back to my guy, watched a new batter step in … then said “play!”

We lost that day, as I remembered. But the deep feeling of camaraderie, doing something that just felt good bcuase it did, and a bunch of other stuff that I can’t put into words … still resonats with me to this very day.

There aren’t enough people in our game today that have the sensitivity, the compassion for giving something back. or passing on for others to observe and learn the bigger picture … made up of little things that are so human.

Darn, you sure are missed Skipper.

Coach B.

John,
He left the passing on of the spirit embodied within your story in good hands…
I’m sorry for your loss but can’t help but know that his way will be there…amongst us all. You’ve captured some of it here in these forums and I know the kids will keep it with them, as I know the help you’ve given my son is always with him…It will be carried on…and thats a great thing. :smiley:
God Bless
jd

I can’t really add to what JD said other than to say “Thanks for sharing, John”.