In a given season, Golden Stick will execute between 30 and 50 events nationally. Each is its own undertaking, but through almost 15 years it does begin to feel easier. A common regional event features 10+ teams and over 50 games in a single day. Yet, on a regional level, the guys behind Golden Stick can do this in their sleep.
Then, there are the big ones. The two day national events. On approach, they always feel too close. There never seems to be enough prep time. While amidst the events themselves, you find yourself staring at the finish line. Then, when they're over...when your brethren have receded back to their own lives...when the field is free of gear bags, pop tents, and our chasing feet...we find ourselves wishing we were still there. We miss it.
In the OPEN's opening ceremony, before James Stein belted out our Nation's anthem, it was decided to honor a man among the Founders, Pat Vitale. Pat is battling cancer in Boston's Mass General Hospital. His unparalleled fighting spirit presents his only chance. It may be just enough. Upon approach to the OPEN, league President, Lou Levesque visited Vitale. His words to be shared with the group were "Tell those guys...they're blessed. For them to be out in that field, with each other, playing this game we all love makes them truly blessed. Tell them not to forget it."
Through an expanded format, this year's Yard League OPEN featured more interregional matches than any before. Teams played 2, 3, and as many as 5 games more than any OPEN in our past. Even the most die hard were crumbling. Yet...it is likely that throughout the 100+ Wiffle® Ballers in Staten Island this weekend that many wish they were still there. Just one more game would do.
Thank you to all who came out to play ball this weekend in S.I. Than you to Staten Island Little League for hosting us. Thank you to super fan, Ethan Winer for filming our battles. Thank you for all who made this possible. When the curtain closes on the legend that was Golden Stick, we'll have weekends like this to stamp our run as truly special.