It feels just like yesterday that I was sitting in the library of Trinity Christian College typing out prediction articles anxiously awaiting the start of a year that I had no idea would have an impact on me the way it did.
95 games and 3 months later I look back with great memories. But I also look back critically. And I can say with confidence I like where we are going. Leroy is on the rise. We saw the league grow in outreach with our relationship with ORWBL and Griffleball. We saw Matt Dykstra step up and become the driving force behind the promotion of the league. We saw Jared Jonkman and Sam Staal take ownership of their roles as groundkeepers. We saw the Detmars promoting the league in new ways, and we saw Greg Gierling embrace his leadership role through the podcast and organization. And as a whole Leroy got better. The competition rose, the comraderie rose, and with it so did attendance. Oh almost forgot (not really). Tim is everything to the league. And every chance I have I will say that. Two years ago I saw my cousin burned out and defeated. All I did was provide a little energy and he turned that into a lightning bolt that is propelling us. Tim I speak for the whole league not just myself when we say there isn’t a way to thank you for the sacrifices you make for the league that brings justice to your actions. But hopefully the effort of everyone this year and the buy-in are a small token of our thanks for what you’ve done.
For me personally this was the best summer of my life. And its funny because I didn’t win as much as I wanted. But this year was the first time in my athletic journey that I was okay with losing. It sucked losing hometown and it sucked losing in Leroy. But then again I realized what had changed in me. And that was my desire to enjoy, savor, and embrace my teammates and friends instead of making it about me. For the past 12 years of athletics it had been about me and what I could do. Which to an extent was a good thing. It kept me out of trouble, and kept me grinding. But it isolated me from guys that I shouldn’t have ran away from. And this year it all made sense. For everyone from Leroy and Maple City that ends up reading this, I love you guys. Seriously. The grind of 3 college seasons had broken down my competitive spirit. And I found it back this summer because of the relationships that I grew with you guys. Every time I stepped on the field representing Leroy at Nationals, representing the liners in Leroy, and representing the Magic in ORWBL I played for you guys in the most genuine sense of the phrase. I played to not let you guys down instead of playing to build myself up. I hope I honored the friendships I have created and developed with you guys through my play. And most importantly I hope you saw this summer that I left everything on the field no matter what circumstances we were playing under.
But isn’t that the beautiful thing about all of this. We chase around a plastic ball and too outsiders we look like a “cult” lol. Winning is fun. Winning is important. But winning shouldn’t be the end goal, it should be a stop in the journey. Winning should be a result of enjoying each other and playing for each other. Maybe that’s why it doesn’t make sense to others. Why would a meaningless game bring this out of us. And to the doubters and skeptics I say come see. Its not hard to find the same answer I’ve given in this article for yourself.
So as I wrap up this overly emotional article I just want to give some foresight into next year. There are some big plans for both Leroy and Orwbl. And I am happy to say I will be involved in both leagues to the same capacity as I was last year. We have the right leaders in the right positions to continue to grow. And for everyone who has read this to this point, please understand that if you are involved with Leroy or the Magic how special this is. Its rare to find leagues, organizations, or teams at any level that work like this. Enjoy it, embrace it, work hard for it, and at the end of the day remember that we are always stronger together then we could ever be separate.