You know, I started to write this quite some time ago but found that so much went on at this year’s SLA Championships that it was difficult to focus. I just kept smiling instead of writing, just kept thinking of the food and Family League and Ella and all you amazing people. We are blessed, my friends, truly blessed to have an annual gathering with so many facets, so rich in friendship. So rich in fact, that it’s impossible to focus on just one thing.
This essay will go wherever it will go; I have given up trying to pick a theme. I hereby surrender to the joy of the place and our game and our people. I’ll start with a personal note, far too personal to be appropriate for a news piece. But that’s exactly what I’m talking about. Stoopball does that. Stoopball stretches the boundaries. It always has.
I stood in the kitchen, which amazingly was almost empty, with my friend Steve Phelan.
He is a great and good man. I am who I am. We have occasionally differed (big smile). For one reason and another and no good reason at all, it had been a long time since we talked, really talked. So we looked at each other, our Irish mugs softened by the light and the day, and we commenced to ramble. We silently agreed to give up our long held positions, we unchipped our shoulders and smoothed over our lines in the sand and it was marvelous. It reminded me of certain Detroit nights all those years ago when two guys each thought that the other guy was the greatest guy he had ever met. It’s still true. He is.
Hey, how much did you like the Family League? I think it was the best idea we’ve had in a looooong time! What a great collection of teams. What a lovely idea, to play the game without tension, to take the game lightly. There is now a place for so many of us to belong, to fit and have fun, to come back to Clinton to play Stoopball. What would you think about calling it the Farm League? Those little folks are looking forward to their entry into the Bigs. I think that the name would serve us well. Families know who they are and the Tyros need a destination to reach for. Branch Rickey would be proud.
I may have seen a better game of Stoopball in my life but I have never seen a better Championship Game. No doubt, never. How many lead changes and how many momentum shifts were there? The contest was so good that I could not remember who I was rooting for. Really. What a game! Congratulations to E3. They have entered the hallowed ground of many time Champions. Only the Risers have won more titles and E3 has the horses to go right by them. Their Game with But, Seriously was tremendous. Pay attention to Seriously. They are for real and they will be back.
We missed a lot of our all-timers this year. For one reason and another those dear hearts could not be with us. Armour and Michelle and Kase and Bryants and Carolyns and Killians and Colford and Donar. We missed you mightily. Come back when you can. We’ll leave the light on for you.
So, hail the Champions, welcome the new League and come back old friends. We’ll see the rest of you next year.