The fact I got a chance to spend six more seasons than I thought I’d ever have, not only in Armena, but back in Armena Royal blue, is never enough. I could and would have kept playing or helping this league for decades to come until probably the day I die.
I have taken a job nearer our two children’s grandparents and my wife’s family back in Nebraska as of today. I will move at the end of February. This was all unplanned and very recent.
But life is often unplanned.
It was unplanned I would even return in 2009. On a whim and the economy slumping in the States, and my wife just finishing up her Masters, I took a job in Edmonton and moved back. I shocked Clark Banack by saying I would play in Armena for a team that went 1-14 and gave up more than 200 runs.
My younger self rattled sabres by saying we wouldn’t be a pushover – and we weren’t most nights.
But in between that year and the last couple years, there were nights we were still very much pushovers. And I loved every minute of it.
I’ll miss playing in Armena the most
Armena Anniversary Park still needs a new backstop and the field is pretty rough some nights but I cherished every moment there. I enjoyed every cold beer I drank in the dugout and in the skate shack following games as well as the impromptu and planned Anny Park Home Run Derbies with the boys. I enjoy seeing the red barn and horses run outside left centre, and dragging the infield in the dark. I get chills as the train goes racing by during a game. I love the challenge of going into that damn labyrinth of trees to find foul balls. I’m sure many of you are thinking about similar quirks on your local diamonds in Ryley, Bardo and Holden.
But outside Armena, I’ll miss this league – both friends and foes, which I all view as brothers. You don’t always love your brother, and you often beak or give him a hard time, but you always respect him. It’s a league where a few of us are the last old guard of kids who played small town ball right in Ryley, Tofield, Armena and Holden and against each other for dozens of years, or more. But even the newest batches coming in are enjoying the fruits of a recreational but competitive atmosphere. I enjoyed trying to pass on the stories and legends – even if they were inflated at times.
I enjoyed trying to pass on the stories and legends – even if they were inflated at times.
Keep up the good fiight
A young player told me not too long ago, the Armena Royals are gone if I were to leave. I hope that’s not the case. Clark (Banack) and I, among several other guys, have worked real hard to keep things going there because a team or two extra in this league keeps it going strong. I know there’s a solid core of a dozen guys who could challenge for the league title there this year.
It will kill me not to be back the next couple seasons, and this could most likely ends my PBL “career.” I’ve loved every minute of it. And I can’t thank the old guys who have come and gone who kept it all running before my time and all of you who keep it going now.
Cherish every game and night out with the boys. It’s a special league.
Cherish every game and night out with the boys. It’s a special league. Thank you again for letting me be a part of it.
What about the website and the Royals?
Administratively both Craig Neufeld and the league exec will be contacted to determine next steps for the website. It could easily be archived and migrated to another system or maintained temporarily by the group.
I have faith the Royals are in good hands. The team accounts, jerseys and equipment will be given to the appropriate members. I apologize for the abrupt notice, but hope this won’t impact the league or Royals given the relatively early notice during the winter months. Thank you again.