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An idea for a Legion baseball team
Has anyone noticed summer is half over?
Granted, it's difficult to comprehend with an abundance of hot weather that has been enticing the Pine Tree state. But at least we forget the drought and tragedy throughout the country. The pending Olympics will engross us over the next two weeks on TV. Still, did anyone miss America's pastime because there wasn't any American Legion baseball entry in the River Valley this summer?
There seems to be three major reasons -- players, coach and funding -- the Dixfield team disbanded after an attempt to garner interest in resuming Swasey-Torrey Post 100 failed to generate adequate responses last winter.
Only a few players attended the meeting and it showed a serious lack of commitment because there is an unwillingness by individuals to join a team. The past years have always provided a distraction, including excess travel and a jam-packed schedule; with four or more games a week.
Ten Mountain Valley and Dirigo players will have an opportunity to play baseball for Andy Valley Legion; signups at Leavitt High School. Former Falcon Izaak Mills opted to play for Locke Mills Mountaineers.
Napoleon Ouellette Post 24 in Rumford opted not to sponsor an entry for a second straight summer. It has been the trend in this area for more than a decade because of a lack of players, Plus, there is an overabundance of other activities which take priorities. Mainly, summer 'team' sports which should be optional, however, respective coaches frown on individuals who are absent.
The lack of quality coaches has been a shortfall because the time involved is just one factor. It has been a non-paying position, so unless they have flexible work schedule, attending each game has proven to be difficult.
Then, having one American Legion team in this area has become a hardship, so sponsoring a second entry surely wouldn't be prudent. Post 100 and Post 24 have both made it well known that it cannot afford to oversee a team because of economic times.
So why not pool resources? Split the operation cost and divide the home games by playing half at Hosmer Field and half at Harlow Park. Although the teams play under the greater American legion, the funding can come from anywhere. Just ask two-time defending state champions out of Lewiston. The entry had always been sponsored by Gayton, but Post 31 withdrew its finances last December. So the team was in limbo throughout the winter before financial backing was secured by Pastime.
There were local Cal Ripken Little League and Babe Ruth teams this summer. A junior American Legion team may exist in 2013.
There was another individual who deserves recognition for having participated in the annual Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl classic. Nate Nicols joined the ranks to play in football game last Saturday between recently graduated seniors from throughout the state.
Nicols, who earned All-State honors, was a late addition to the prestigious event and it provided him with an opportunity to complete his football career in style. He was a member of the West roster, along with Mountain Valley teammate Ryan Glover.
Former Falcon Taylor Bradley was a late addition last year.
Jim Aylward was on the West coaching staff for the eighth time. The West won 48-24 and own a 17-6 edge in the all-time series. The East led 16-6, but the West scored 26 unanswered points.