As I sit in the dugout and reflect on the closing of another Vistas tournament, I am overwhelmed with the things we can learn from the game of baseball.
I have learned to greatly cherish the friendships made around the diamond.
As we square off against Oak Grove, Mo., today, the memories of the team's late manager Ron Johnson bring a huge smile to my face. Behind the Oakley sunglasses, the hat - which always held the lineup for the game - and his bearded Redman-filled cheek, was a great baseball man. I learned many things from Ron.
The most important is that baseball is a game. We need to treat it like a game and have fun. Even though baseball was our common interest, Ron always put family first and always loved to hear about my stories as a young dad. I am a better coach and person having known Ron, and was very happy to see his family return this summer. I, along with the Minot baseball family, will miss Ron dearly.
I recently had the privilege to play in my first Vistas alumni game. For all that are wondering I am still recovering from plenty of sore muscles and have a monster size bruise to show for my efforts. It was great to see many old friends and I would like to thank all that came to show their continued support for Vistas baseball. Many people think I am crazy, but I was in heaven having the opportunity to spend another night at Corbett Field behind the "dish."
On this Father's Day, it would be a shame not to mention all the father-son moments the game of baseball has given me. From the first game of catch in the backyard, to all the time my dad spent at the legion ballpark, thanks Dad for all the time you have spent supporting me over the years. It is always great to see all the father-son interaction at the ballpark everyday. Happy Father's Day to all the baseball dads out there.
It has been a great start to the summer season and I look forward to all the friendships that I will make between the baselines.
(Andy Lach is a former catcher and current assistant coach of the Minot Vistas American Legion Baseball team. He will periodically write a column for The Minot Daily News during the Vistas' season. Lach can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org)