FAIR WINDS AND FOLLOWING SEAS
Most of you know that 2007 was a tough year for me, losing my wife and best friend of 40 years. So many of you shared my loss, sending words of comfort.
I've learned that life is short and so, I’m retiring. October 31 will be my last day and what a wonderful ride these 21 years have been. As I say my final farewells, I feel privileged to have been a part of an international icon. Little League Baseball and Softball is one of the greatest institutions in the world.
The best part of it for me, however, has been you. Over my 21 years I've met hundreds of volunteer umpires and found each and every one of you to be the most dedicated individuals in the Little League family.
How blessed I've been to have a job I loved. How fortunate I feel to have spent time at countless clinics all over America and abroad with all of you.
As for me, I can point with pride to the accomplishments of Little League Umpires. Our rule books are better now; we have training materials at our disposal that didn't exist when I first started in Williamsport in 1987. We have policies and procedures in place and a system that gives everyone a shot to live the dream of a World Series.
And how 'bout those kids that inspire and motivate us season after season. We tried not to fumble; we struggled not to fail them. Win or lose, we stood proudly with them because of how they played the game. They made better men of us and for that, I'll always be grateful.
I leave the field confident that I've played a small part in making all you blues stand taller and wear your gear with pride. For me, you have truly been the best part of the game for the 21 years I served.
I'm off to happily sit on the sidelines watching my grandchildren and others’ children and grandchildren carry on what is one of the most honored, steadfast and worthy legacies in this great country of ours - Little League Baseball and Softball. These traditions I've helped carry around America and across the world at clinics, training and games. They are traditions I firmly believe are worthy of emulation and serve as the proper foundation for young lives -- courage, integrity and character.
Until I see you again, and I will because I will always be a fan of Little League Baseball and Softball, call ’em like you see ’em.