On Dec. 23, I received a certified letter from the Salem Junior Baseball League.
I was shocked to learn that I had been given an "indefinite suspension" from coaching and participating in league activities, including running for election as a member of the executive board.
The letter did not provide any reasons for my suspension, other than stating "it has become evident through your actions last year and in prior years your conduct is not in the best interest of our league."
I have never been contacted or approached by any member of the board to discuss "conduct not in the best interest of our league."
I was called directly by a member of the executive board prior to the 2011 season and asked if I would volunteer as a T-ball manager. I accepted. The board was not confident in some of the parents who requested to be managers, since no formal background check is performed to determine if a potential coach should be interacting with children. If there were "actions in prior years" why were these not brought to my attention when I was contacted prior to the 2011 season?
I have never conducted myself in a manner that is disrespectful to the league, my players or the parents of my players. I have never had an issue with any parent of any player that I have coached.
I have volunteered my time over the past four years to do the best I could in teaching good sportsmanship, hard work, and team work to the children I have coached. I have done the best I possibly could.
I have appealed this suspension and requested immediate reinstatement to SJBL. I have requested to be notified of the "actions" that indicate my "conduct is not in the best interest of our league." I was told there is "no formal appeal process."
Unfortunately, the executive board can arbitrarily suspend anyone from participation at their sole discretion. If there is a personal issue, this should be set aside for the good of the children of the community.
This league could not function without the countless hours volunteered by fathers, mothers, friends and relatives as managers and mentors. In an age where technology is taking the place of physical activity and parental participation is minimal, it simply does not make sense to discourage my active participation.
Some of my fondest memories are from the teams I played on growing up in Salem and the friendships and rivalries that formed through these experiences. My oldest son has been able to experience these same things.
I am saddened that this indefinite suspension will keep me from coaching my 5-year-old son.
I am asking for the support of the community, the league sponsors, and the parents of the children I have been fortunate enough to coach in overturning this suspension.