Friday, December 20, 2013

Off The Bench - Fall Champions for the 3rd consecutive year!

Off The Bench, the team I captain at Atlanta Club Sport, has done it again. I had never won a championship until the fall season of 2011. Then we won it again last year in the fall of 2012. And just last night we pulled off the 3-peat by winning 13-12 in the first game and then 17-7 in the finale. I want to congratulate my players.

McKenzie Wilson
Brandon Stapleton
Jason Szczech
Josh Brass
Ira Graiser
Jason Brooks
Scott Pharr
Kelli Estep
Katey McCandless
Jaime Grimes
Matt Skesavage
Mary Beth O'Rouke
Kelly Cutts

The Champs

Ira Graiser and myself started Off The Bench because we played on a team together who sats players for the entire length of the game. Ira and I thought that was unfair and decided to branch off and start our own team. We felt "Off The Bench" was a good name to use. In my 5+ years captaining this team, no player has sat an entire game and I was willing to lose a lot of games in order to keep that streak going. We were not very good at first as Ira, myself and Josh Brass (another long time member of the team) started finding free agents one by one. Jason Szczech and Scott Pharr were the next in line to be longtime members of the team. Eventually we grabbed a lot of free agents and people liked playing on this team and they told their friends and they told their friends and eventually we went from the back of the pack to the top team in the league. I'm more proud of our philosophy than I am the number of titles we have.

The irony is that we play our best ball when it's cold which is usually the toughest time of year for a cystic fibrosis patient. So it makes it even more special that we win during the late fall when it is frigid outside.

I want to thank my team for making me a very proud captain this morning. The championship meant a lot but the way these guys played as a team and enjoyed playing together meant even more.

On Monday we trailed 9-0 after a half-inning but came back to win 10-9. Two nights later, we won 20-10. Last night we trailed Vandalay Industries 7-1. Vandalay has more championships than Michael Jordan yet still we came back to win 13-12. Then in the final, we played our best game and pulled away 17-7.

When the game ended, I told Tom to let Joe's family know that we dedicated the championship to him. Joe loved softball and would have been proud to see us play it the right way. Joe, we miss you.

I hope everyone has a nice weekend.


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