Hello again, I’ve been away for a while, the whys of which I will clarify in a post this week, but first I must tell you a story. Surprised?
From time to time I have written here about the Venice High School Baseball program in Venice Florida. I am proud and privileged to say I am the voice of the Venice Indians, their designated historian and on occasion I get to knock some fungoes around and throw some BP.
The best part is I get to associate with a great group of young men who are committed, dedicated, hardworking, determined and focused. Their energy, retards that process we call aging.
Back in January of 2013 I wrote a story about one of our most loyal long time supporters, a man named Jack Dundas. A retired Army Colonel with seven, count em seven, Purple Hearts. He was wounded three times at the Battle of the Bulge, twice in Korea and twice in Vietnam. He passed away in November of 2011 and the 2012 team dedicated the season to him. That season ended in a State Championship.
This plaque, which was placed in January of 2013 marks the Colonel’s seat at the ball park.
On the day this plaque was installed, a bald eagle visited the ball park, circled a bit, perched for about 10 minutes and went on his way. A week later, on the first day of tryouts for the ’13’ team, the eagle returned, and watching from the left field light bank, waited for Coach Faulkner to finish his talk with the boys and then moved on.
The Colonel keeps his eye on troops at Venice High.
The first day of tryouts in 2014 brought yet another visit from the full bird, and 2015 did the same. It grew rather commonplace for the Colonel to make his appearance, ON THE FIRST DAY OF TRYOUTS, sit a while and then, satisfied that all was well, take flight. It kept us all shaking our heads and smiling.
The story took an interesting twist last Monday, January 11th and that twist began last March. As the Venice High team was making their march to what would become their third State Championship in four years; we lost another long time, loyal supporter.
Roy was 98 years young when he left us. He tallied the strikeouts for Venice High pitchers by hanging green K’s on the fence from his chair, on the home plate side of the Indian dugout. He too was a veteran of WW II and on the night before he passed, a wide smile came to his face when he was informed that the Indians had eeked out a 2-1 win.
Well last Monday I arrived at THE FIRST DAY of TRYOUTS and as I walked on the field Coach Faulkner came over to me…
The Venice High Baseball team has some very special eyes watching over them.
“Roy and Jack are both here.” He said and I didn’t quite understand. He threw his eyes skyward towards left field and there they were. They sat for about five minutes and then they were gone. Yet somehow I think we will see them again.
I’ll keep you posted.
And so it is on this FIRST DAY OF TRYOUTS.