New Zealand Black Sox - Team Canada Tour

July 13, 2007

Kitchener, ON

I apologize for my tardiness on this follow up but I have not forgotten the significant role each of you played in the very successful Ontario tour of the New Zealand Black Sox and Team Canada’s National softball team. We have all had a few weeks to recover but I would be remiss if I did not offer my formal thanks to each and every one of you whose contribution showcased Ontario’s fastball community.
To the host organizations in Jarvis, Tavistock, Orillia, Sebringville and Kitchener, you did a magnificent job of preparing your parks, promoting the games and hosting the best men’ssoftball teams in the world. I heard nothing but praise from the management and coaching staff of both New Zealand and Canada, and I would ask that you convey this message to the dozens of volunteers in your own communities who stepped up to the plate to hit a home run on your behalf.
I would be remiss if I didn’t center out a few of those from Kitchener Fastball Promotions who assisted me in pulling the bigger picture of the tour together. Not only did you help me in all aspects of promotion, finances, bbq, luncheon events and the series finale, but more so you helped me deal with a very difficult period of my personal life with your  friendship, your compassion and your patience. I will be eternally grateful to each of you who showed me the real class of our fastball fraternity.
I have always believed it is the little things that set our volunteer personnel apart from the rest . Pete, you did a magnificent job with the Black Sox skills event with the 3 area minor teams. The inaugural edition of Kitchener’s newest community newspapers featured this event as there lead story, something we are all very proud of.
Ray and Lucille, the Cortina Club was a very gracious host to the New Zealand team luncheon prior to departure for Orillia  It is unlikely the Italian community will ever see a thank you response in the form of a touring national team singing their thanks at the conclusion of such a great meal. Please pass on our committees special thanks for the extra effort and class presentation of the home cooked Italian dinner.
John Thompson as always delivered a class act Diamond Dirt, and both he and Dave McLelland did a thoroughly professional job on the Roger’s TV broadcast . Tom Clancy and John MacTavish as usual a great effort on the scoring and PA.
I do not want to embarrass anyone by missing their unique contributions, but I would be remiss if I did not offer my greatest thanks to my friends Sue Sherry and Neil Fennell, without whom I would not have been able to step up for this tour. Sue has been with my many fastball adventures since the early 1990’s. She has been a steadfast supporter of my efforts through the good times and bad. Words cannot convey how much I appreciate her as a colleague and more importantly, a friend . Neil and I have traveled a lot of miles since the inception of the Perth Shoot-Out a decade and a half ago. I have always respected him for his significant contribution to the game. Over the course of the development and planning of the tour he was my main liaison with New Zealand and I found out what real passion he has for their program and the friendships the Black Sox organization has rewarded him with over his career. I also learned a lot living with him for 10 days. His attention to detail almost drove me over the edge at times, but I quickly learned he was also a great sounding board, a great mentor and a different person that I thought he was all these years. He was an easy mark for my barbs, but he also gave me the chance to laugh a lot, at myself and at him. I will be forever grateful Neil for the part you played on this tour of duty.  
It is rare that a community of volunteers gets to take part in something that touches the entire softball world. I recently received aletter from Softball New Zealand that conveys their sincere thanks for the warm hospitality, the great respect and the unbridled enthusiasm Ontario displayed to their National Team.  Likewise, Mark Smith and Softball Canada has personally offered histhanks for the wonderful treatment our National team received in the test series events throughout the communities they attended. Through the efforts of Al Doran and his web site the world came together for 10 days in June to follow ahistoric battle of the world’s greatest softball players, you should allbe proud of your part in showcasing fastball as still one of the great teamgames in the world.
Get out to the ball parks in your own communities, it allstarts with the grass roots where dreams of greatness turn singles into triples.
Larry Lynch

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