Who wants to be Volunteer for your Local little League

As a child, my brother, who is almost 10 years my elder, and I did not seem to agree on much of anything. Perhaps it was because he was that much older, and thought that he knew all there was to know about life. Or, perhaps it was that I was a bit stubborn and just didn’t want to be too much like him.

However, as I grew a little older, I began to see a certain quality about my brother that many others had already observed in him. That being a great concern for his community. He was a volunteer firefighter for more than two decades, until he was injured in a terrible accident while working as a paramedic, and could no longer physically fight fires. He is an active member in his church along with his wife. It seems as though my brother is always doing something to help out. However, the greatest love he has, other than God and his wife, is volunteering for our hometown’s Little League.

Although I often did not see eye to eye with him, I often followed Charlie around, just to have something to do. I followed him to the firehouse, and sure enough, ended up serving with them for 18 years. I also followed him to the baseball field. I have now been a Little League volunteer since I was just old enough to be too old to play.

To some, baseball is about being a die-hard fan of some professional team. I find nothing wrong with that. GO REDS! To my brother, there is more to baseball than that. Each spring, my brother works out the cricks in his back, breaks out his umpiring gear, attends meetings, and becomes Charlie, coach/umpire.

This may not seem out of the ordinary to some, but you see, my brother has no children. It is not an obligation he has to fulfill. He does not see it as having to go to the ballpark, but as a joy.

For some time after the accident on the ambulance, my brother sat around not doing much of anything, except being depressed. Then spring, and baseball, came around, and he saw a need. Many parents were just too busy for their own children, so my brother found a place to “fill in” where he could.

This April 21st, I will return to my hometown, about 45 minutes away. I will don my official Little League umpire uniform and take a spot on the field with my brother to open another season of Little League baseball. It will be my honor and privilege to work with him again.

We may never see one of these children become a Ken Griffey or a Hank Aaron, but we will have a feeling inside that we have done something, made an attempt at least to make a difference, teaching these children the principles reflected in the Little League pledge:

I trust in God,
I love my country,
and will respect its’ laws.
I will play fair,
and strive to win,
but win or lose,
I will always do my best.

I believe the world needs more big brothers.

Kevin Eaton

Hello! I’m Kevin – an openly biased Baltimore Orioles fan; a youth baseball parent; an obsessive-compulsive scorekeeper; a travelling ballpark tourist and a taste tester of defiantly unhealthy ballpark culinary offerings. In this space I share my love for the game of baseball and in doing so, connect with other really great people who love the game as much as I do.

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