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Hop's Heresy— Surprise!! I lose...sort of

December 13, 2013

    Fresh off of my overtime (new baseball league) election loss Monday night, I was commiserating with my best bud back in Alamo town, explaining to him that winning actual elections where I had an opponent was a happening  that ... well, never happened.
    "But we always had those elections back in elementary school when we elected a president of the class every semester," he reminded me. "Surely you won one of those."
    I would have remembered that, even a half-centry or so later. No, the only election I ever really won was getting tabbed media person of the year a quarter of a century ago by the Indiana wrestling coaches Hall of Fame committee.
    I'm assuming that the persistence and insistence of Mary (Friedt) and Helen (Mankey) had as much to do with that success as the tablet of wrestling stories I produced when the Braves won back-to-back state mat titles. Long live Denny Hays!
    While losing out as Taylor U. freshman class vice-president was a setback to my plan for conquering college, there were plenty of volunteer positions, such as dorm intramural sports director, to which I could appoint myself, and I did. When one makes up a position, it's easy to pencil in your own name.
    There was one election that I lost, but then won, and it's hard to explain. Almost 20 years ago, with a lot of help, I founded the Decatur Football League. There was one other gentleman with whom I partnered the vision and initial work, but I refuse to write the letters of his name on a column I own. It's my column and I'll cry if I want to!
    After a year, this partner left, then returned to a meeting about 15 months later and announced he wanted to be president of the league. "We have one," I noted. "It's me."
    Apparently, it was more than just a passing fancy. This turncoat had his ducks in a row on a night when there were no scheduled elections. We vote. Of course, I lose ... with blood dripping off of my back!
    It wasn't pretty, and after some pleasantries, I went down to my Dodge, got two huge stacks of materials and brought them upstairs to the meeting room and plopped them on a table. "You want it, it's yours. It's ALL yours. Good ...  luck!!" I said, maybe not in those exact words.
    "Aren't you going to stay on and be my V.P. and share the load like we did a couple of years ago (he remembered more sharing than I did)?"
    My response mirrored that of another man of quiet dignity, Peyton Manning, who last week was criticised for being a cold-weather loser. After hitting 39 of 59 passes for 400 yards and a bunch of touchdowns in frigid conditions, Manning said something about the sun shining, or a place that it most certainly does NOT.
    This one-time associate of mine, who ran a feel-good business and raised funds on the speaking tour, imagined informing the Lions, Rotary, Optimists, etc. about HIS league, then hitting up the boys for some funds for his full-time show.
    He wasn't planning on actually doing the DFL dirty work. "I don't know why you're upset," Bozo said to me in an unwanted meeting at the Pioneer two days later.
    "What can I do to make this right?"
    That was simple. "Call a DFL meeting, resign, then nominate me for president, Close the nominations .... then move on."
    He bit! I got the stacks of paperwork back. Life was grand again! And I won an election, kinda. Or was it an execution?
    The Pioneer closed its doors years ago (I really miss Sally, Beth .. and the canned chicken salad). Besides, there's no buyer's remorse, I'm sure, for the group that now runs the North Adams-Decatur-Monmouth Baseball thing.
    They have grand plans, including a volunteer board of 16 people all doing their specific jobs, most of which I hoarded for the past five years, depriving all of those would-be volunteers of their contributorship stripes.
    Of course, I had some great help. I mean it. Rex Brewer, Tony Staub, Pat Wellman, Tiny Lee, Dave Krick, Ken Teeple, Kristie Brown ... all answered the call and were amazing. My better half proved many halves, serving as treasurer, secretary, concessions director ... and head of morale. It's going to take a chunk of volunteers to fill those size seven-and-halfs!
    It was a great run, those 40 years in Decatur baseball. I could never really imagine raising funds and raking fields for a conglomerate. I'll certainly miss the old Decatur Little League. May she rest in peace!
    And the Senators ... what a rush! My boys did good! No, GREAT!
    I'll never forget them, and my controller, Randy Hendricks!
    We played hard, we hit hard, we slid hard, we threw hard! We coached hard!
    Now, I retire ... easy!
    I win!!!

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