The End, or is it just the beginning? The adventure is over and some people need to be thanked.
First and foremost, my wife Susan. She allowed me to chase a baseball around South Africa, during the Christmas season. This placed a large strain on the “family”, being away on Christmas Day. She will never know how thankful I am for her putting up with my wandering ways. Oh yeah, she did get a couple of vacations out of this deal, well deserved. Her presence has been requested repeatedly. Are you ready for an amazing adventure in 2017???
Mark Moore, I met him in Novara, Italy in 2012 while doing the EMEA Senior Regional. Since then, he has continued to ask me to travel to South Africa to umpire. This year was the year. Mark ran a fabulous series. It was my honor to call the games, provide a little umpire training and interact with the kids.
Mark’s Staff: From the cooks (Audrey, Colleen and others), to the field staff (Kevin and Kieren), to the young ladies and Mark’s wife, Heike, that did so very much. A HUGE THANKS. They worked tirelessly, first to rise and the last to bed. Without them, this series would never have run so smoothly.
John Kuykendal, many years ago , John asked for volunteers to go to Europe to umpire for Little League. Thanks to this opportunity, I was able to meet people like Mark Moore who offered me this trip of a lifetime. Thanks John for providing me with this opportunity, thanks for being a friend.
Little League Baseball, although this was NOT a Little League event, it was the direct result of my travels for Little League. I am so grateful to every opportunity that Little League has provided me. They provide umpire training, they allow me to go to Europe to call regionals and they gave me the GOLDEN TICKET of calling a Senior World Series in 2014. Through all of this, it has provided me with opportunity and the ability for this trip. Also a HUGE shoutout to the Western Region staff for preparing me to take on this adventure. The training they have provided has traveled with me and I have passed it along. Hopefully, I remembered everything correctly. From the beginning…. Call it!!!
Sam Griffith, Jeff Chapman, I met these 2, fine gentlemen in Poland many years ago. I thank them at the end of every trip, but thanks is not really enough. They taught me that these trips are not about me, but about giving back, about “Getting It”. I packed 70 pounds of baseball related items this year, sacrificed carrying enough clothes to last the trip. I can do laundry in the shower. I GET IT. This is truly about the kids. Sammy and Jeff, I will never be able to thank the 2 of you enough, but I will continue trying.
Corona National Little League, I am a rockstar because of you. They have come thru so often, every year that I ask for help, they provide more help than I could ever expect. Even though this was not an official Little League event, they still donated shirt, hats and equipment. Without an organization backing me like the way they do, I could never shine. Special shoutout to Lisa Musgraves and Bob Bradberry, they really came thru this year, thanks Lisa and Bob, they GET IT.
Coca Cola Bottling Co. And Simba Ltd, I relied upon these 2 fine companies for quenching my thirst and snacks, read crazy flavored potato chips. You could find me eating chips for breakfast or downing a Coke also enjoying a midnight meal. And YES, you read that right, BREAKFAST of Umpires!!
And lastly, my father Stanley. He left this world way too soon. He has never known about any of my adventures. He instilled in me the love of travel, the love of meeting people but most of all, being happy. My family talks about those STANLEY moments, where I can meet a stranger on the street and be friends with them 5 minutes later. There were many STANLEY moments on this trip, thanks dad, love and miss you.
Thanks to everyone else I may have forgotten, not intentional. Until our next adventure, I am out of here…
Keep your eye on the ball and ENJOY!!