To all members of our FHC family: Do you remember the song “Looks like we made it (80’s, I think)?” 2017 was the most fickle year I have seen in my 20 years in FHC. We fought the cold, rain, wind, and yes, those hurricanes in September. And, I cannot ever remember such weather in December. The 60 and up guys played in dream weather and then, here comes a downpour on the Friday before the 50’s State Tournament. Hats off to Mike Correa who did the schedule no less than four times in two days to get it in. We were at the park until 10:30pm Saturday night and left Southwest Sunday night around 8:30 pm. Yes, we got all the games in on that weekend with the help of our entire FHC Board and the Grace of God. Also, we need to express a big thank you to our UIC, Brett Porche, and his umpire crew who did a great job under tough circumstances.
After one full year as your Chairman I have grown to realize that 95% of our teams just want to know which field and what time they play on any given weekend. However, we have that 5% of our teams that only look at their own situation. They do not look at the big picture like we must do as a Board. We really do take a great deal of time to be fair and consistent with the way that we alternate game times, fields, umpires, and so on. We have heard from some of our older players who say we are not as strong as we used to be. That is exactly opposite of what is going on. Older players do not like change and we have changed a few things to make FHC not only fair, but also fun for our team followers. It looks like we will be in the 200 team range this year. We are growing in leaps and bounds. We are not going backwards. We have become so large it takes the entire FHC Board to make sure things run smoothly.
Next week, the first 60 and up tournament will have 82 teams in the field, so Managers, it is a good time to remind yourself and your players about a few things. Managers, contact our Secretary about roster issues. Contact me about new registrations and replacement cards. Contact our Treasurer about Team Registrations. Contact your local Area Director about everything else. You are not to contact the Scheduler about any thing. Your players are not to contact any of these people on their own. You can do it for them. However, anyone can call or email me with a question or a problem. But, contact me between 8:30am and 8:30pm.
We are back playing in Auburndale next weekend. However, parking will be available primarily in the back where we take batting practice. As of yesterday FEMA was still operating near the old parking area. It would be a good idea to drive as few cars as possible. Try to car pool when possible.
Managers, this is a good time for you to talk to your players about treating all players, coaches, umpires, and Board members with the greatest of respect. We have come a long way in that respect but we still have a few of our members that forget that the bad language and bad attitude is not wanted and will not be tolerated. Make sure you and your players show good sportsmanship. The Board will respond, if necessary. In other words, tell your players to stop the profanity and threats or they will face tough discipline.
Under the guidance of our UIC we have seen great improvement in our umpiring. We have ongoing mini-clinics all year long. The first full clinic will be held in Polk County on the last Saturday in January. These guys, and gals, work very hard. Let them know that you appreciate their efforts.
FHCASA is now under the umbrella of ASA Softball, which is led by Carlton Benton. We are looking forward to a great relationship with Carlton and his staff.
Remember, if a player moves to another Area in Florida, he may apply to be Grand- fathered to his old team. If you have questions on how to do this do not hesitate to get in touch with me. My office handles those requests.
Managers, remind your players that there is a “no alcohol and no pet” policy at all of our Sites. Obviously, be smart and clean up your mess.
Managers, the 30 minute rule has not been in effect for several years. This is regarding being ready to play if the Commissioner needs to move your game up, or there has been a mercy rule game before you, or we have had to go to a one pitch format. The Playing Rules state that a team must be prepared to play a full game time prior to their scheduled game. Obviously, the Commissioner will use some common sense in regards to your situation.
Another song was “and that was yesterday, and yesterday’s gone.” 2017 was a tough year but we made it to the present. I hope that 2018 is a blessed year for each and every one of you. I like to be very visible so I hope to see you at the tournaments all year long. I do like just coming in your dugout, say hello, and answer any questions you might have. I will see you at the ballpark. God bless and good luck.
RIP Jim Henry