My speech at our Little League’s Opening Day. Photo by Rob Steaffens.
To me, the most significant part of last Saturday’s Opening Day came late in the day. I was sitting in the bleachers of one of the fields where a AA game was taking place. The ceremony that I spoke at had long since ended. My son’s game wouldn’t be for another half an hour. I had a moment to sit quietly by myself.
I looked over the entire elementary school field where our Little League plays. Far away at the other end of the field, a Single A machine pitch game was starting. Tee Ball players scrambled happily on their field. Cheers came up from the Majors game. The center of the field was filled with people checking out the gift baskets in the silent auction, getting their lunch, or just chatting with friends.
I thought to myself, “I helped make this happen.”
Everything I had been through for the past eight months since I became league president finally fell into place. The controversies, the disagreements, the clashes. Writing e-mails until past midnight. The Board meetings, the district meetings, the draft meetings. The yelling, the complaints, the hostile e-mails with words in all caps. It was worth it. All the work and sacrifice. It was all worth it.
People wonder, why someone would spend time volunteering? Why would someone work for hours and take on incredible responsibilities without pay? Why work so hard when someone else can do the work?
If they were to sit where I did last Saturday and watch those kids playing and having fun, they would understand.