A very dear friend of the Caroline Review passed away last month. George Herbert (Bud) Walls, Sr. was an encouragement to athletes great and small in Caroline county for decades. He wrote many articles over the years that helped us all understand the nature of sports and the players who participated in them. Readers were often thrilled to see their names prominently mentioned in one of Bud’s pieces, and he was also sensitive to the feelings of those who were not so gifted.
Bud had been writing long before the first Caroline Review was published in November of 1980 under his personal tagline, “Sports Scope.” His work could be found in a number of local publications including the County Record, Caroline Sun, The Journal, and of course, The Caroline Review. He was also published in the National Little League Magazine with the poems, “Mother” and “The Coach.” He won first place in the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association’s annual contest. The article originally appeared in The Journal on April 20, 1977. The Journal was the Denton newspaper at the time, owned by the founder of the Caroline Review, Adelaide Warfield. The article is reprinted below. The print with the black background was from The Journal.
We were so fortunate to have had Bud be a part of our publication from day one and for many years after. He was one of the reasons for our success and we will be forever grateful for his contributions. Beginning this month, with the blessing of his family, we would like to honor him by reprinting some of his work in upcoming issues. His thoughts have stood the test of time. If you’ve read some of these before, you will enjoy them again. If you are a first timer, you’ll enjoy his perspective. If you see your name mentioned, you’ll be smiling.
–Rich and Loretta Warfield
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BELOW IS THE FIRST PLACE COLUMN FROM WEDNESDAY, APRIL 20, 1977 IN THE JOURNAL
Sports Scope by Bud Walls
The colorful debut of spring always brings with it a refreshing touch of nostalgia. With summer sports breaking out all over the place, my mind always returns to other springs where the glory of youth brought forth the exuberant enthusiasm that is the wellspring of eternal youth.
As I watch today’s teams with their full dress snappy uniforms playing in their fenced-in ball parks with paid umpires and manicured fields and listen to them talk about the expenses involved, I always wonder if something isn’t missing.
The most enjoyable softball summers of my life were spent playing on a field where we had to chase the cows off before we could start the game and catching a fly ball was a perilous adventure, hindered somewhat by the patches of fresh cow dung that often resulted in a messy, but hilarious mishap. Corkellville, Burrsville, Hobbs, Hickman, Fire Tower and Denton all had teams at one time or another and we didn’t have uniforms or fences and sometimes we had to pick up a player or two before we could start the game.
Tobacco chewing farmers always had to be persuaded to don the mask and get behind the plate, sometimes at the risk of a great deal of slander concerning their morals and ancestral heritage.
But we had fun. Real, genuine fun. The kind you always remember with fondness in later years, when the spring has gone from your legs and boyish enthusiasm has been dulled by the aches and pains that usually occur when you try to recapture the days of your youth with an unaccustomed venture into a pick up game with the kids.
Today it all seems too professional. Beginning with Little League right on up to the adult leagues everything is so organized that the humanness of a simple ball game seems to be missing.
Look around you and remember when every vacant lot was the site of a familiar scene, a pickup game. kids and little kids all playing together and there was no mistaking the pure enjoyment they were experiencing.
Perhaps, somewhere locked in our minds along with those wonderful memories is the key to the problems that beset our athletic programs today.
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Just a reminder: The Denton Senior League Association will meet tonight (Wednesday, April 20) at Thermalink at 7:30 p.m.
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What is this Crazy Games Day all about? I hear it will be fun for all.