My Night To Remember on the Mound at Fuessenich Park.
TORRINGTON: My super observant granddaughter, Skyy Elizabeth was quick to tell me that I was “blinking my eyes more than anybody else” on the mound at Fuessenich Park on Wednesday night when I was standing with four other outstanding gentleman during the Tri-State Baseball Hall of Fame Induction ceremony.
Darn kid (10-years old) is far too aware of what she sees.
Was it an emotional time when a good friend, John Woods was reading my interview I did with another stellar guy who I am privileged to call a compadre, Ed Gadomski in front of the gathered fans who support Tri-State?
Heck yeah it was and I’m not too proud to say that I felt it in a big way.
How could I not after remembering the journey my entire family has been on over the past 10 plus years of writing and developing what we have done here at LCS.
Skyy and Deb (the marvelous Mrs. Gaffney) were handling the video portion of the night while family friend Marianne Killackey captured some tremendous moments with her skilled camera abilities.
Wednesday night was all about friends and family.
It’s a funny feeling though when someone is talking about you when you are the one normally talking about others. It’s what we do. We tell stories about others without looking for anything in return so to be honored by Gadomski and Tri-State was something that struck a chord.
One of the best guys I have the honor to work with, Rick Wilson, was kind enough to come up to be part of it but also took on the responsibilities of catching the ceremonial first pitch from me, one that looked good in warm-ups but didn’t really translate when it came out of my hand late and into the dirt.
Hey, maybe I would have caught somebody chasing. A guy can hope.
The four other honorees, Ralph Davino, Carl Rivers (whose first pitch was an absolute blazer), Daryl Morhardt and Gary Swierzcynski are guys who I am honored to be associated with and to share the mound for a night.
I’ve known Morhardt for a number of years and he is the guy who threw during the Tri-State Home Run Derby a few years back and threw me a bone with a pitch that I planted on the warning track and was ecstatic! Come on, warning track power? I’ll take it.
Some doubted the story but who brags about warning track pop? If anything, I would have claimed to have put one in the Naugatuck River, not 300 feet to the rocks on the track!
Davino is as dedicated an umpire as you will find, something that involves a very thick skin but a good heart, both things that make up Mr. Davino.
Swierzcynksi is what Tri-State embodies, a chance to play baseball well out of high school, college and into your later years. He graduated from Terryville High School in 1986 and spent close to three decades on the diamond, never a bad thing.
As I said earlier, Rivers was not messing around with his first pitch. The hard throwing lefty threw some serious heat which he was famous for during his years at Western Connecticut State University.
Back to Skyy and what she observed, which kind of amazes me considering she’s just a decade old.
When we left the park, we stopped to have some dinner at the 99 Restaurant nearby and as we walked in, she brought up the fact that it looked like I had tears in my eyes.
What we forget is that kids see us in a certain way. I’m Pa with Skyy. Pa is funny, serious and goofy all at once to her but not normally emotional except when it comes to hanging out with her which is when the pure joy of a nuttier than the day is long child, who melts away any cares I might have.
As she gets older she will understand better why and when people like me get emotional.
It’s when it’s about family and the journey we have all taken together to be where we are today.
It’s something to celebrate, it’s something to care deeply about.
It’s those times that help you get through a tough selling week or a broken site or a washing machine that floods your house at 10 o’clock on a Sunday night.
Those of us who write about others may not be the most comfortable getting the story turned back on ourselves but I guarantee you that we understand the gravity and honor that goes with it.
Thanks for calling me out Skyy. You’re getting to know your Pa well.