What’s your favorite season?
Some simply answer “baseball”. I always answer fall. Fall seems to represent the ending of the vibrancy known as summer, it ushers in a time hushed by the blanket of leaves on the ground. Fall has a contemplative quality – with less hustle than the summer and not quite the bustle of the holidays. Fall is also the ending of baseball for the year, which makes me feel bittersweet. Looking past the green outfield to the sun glowing on the river I know one more season has been wrapped up.
I was granted the opportunity to announce three games of the 2017 Great River Challenge. I came only as a spectator last year so it felt good to once again be “The Mouth” of Challenger.
As I announced the names of the sponsors listed on the back of my tee-shirt; the names of the individuals, businesses, and organizations rolled off of my tongue with great familiarity.
These are names which have supported The Great River Challenge for many years and some have supported local Challenger Little League for twenty-five years.
During that quarter of a century we have seen Dolly the sheep, horrific school shootings, the fascinating internet, the tragedy of 9/11, ever-present smart phones, and the Cubs win the World Series. We have seen loyal fans stand by their team in all the lean years and whoop with joy at the victory.
We have seen fans support Challenger teams for a quarter of a century. This is true loyalty. You have not only supported CLL, but have made it possible for CLL to exist.
I am talking about the names on the back of my shirt, but I am also talking about the fans who are family. The fans who burst with pride year after year as they watch their favorite CLL player on the QC River Bandits’ diamond. I am also talking about the biggest fans of CLL- the players themselves! Because of them we get to cheer and spend days in the sun watching the perfect game of baseball.
The loyalty of the volunteers, organizers, and sponsors is what allows The Great River Challenge to continue. As a fan, I am grateful for your loyalty.
As a loyal fan I have watched some of these players for 25 years. I have seen the changes in them and in their families throughout the years, but the constant through all the change is loyalty.
~People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring. ~Rogers Hornsby
I’ll let the fall tuck our baseball equipment in the bag on a shelf to lie low through the bitterness of winter, until the warmth of spring brings the loyal players and fans out to the sandlot once more.