The reunion, the state tournaments and virtually all of the excitement are over. It is a relief to be home and back into a routine. Unfortunately, getting back into a routine is not as easy as it sounds. First, one has to figure out where he has been and what has changed since he left the routine and attempted something different.
The USAF group reunion was great. We told all of the old “war” stories and visited air museums, Indian art museums, gold mining museums and an Arizona Diamondbacks baseball game. We ate at some of the best restaurants in Phoenix, Mesa, Tucson and Casa Grande. That is one thing you can usually count on this group doing.
Our group was formed by the powers that be in the USAF when they assigned us to the same Russian language class at Syracuse University in 1954. Some were together in later assignments, but most were not. We were fortunate enough not to share the experience of a “real” war.
Most of us wanted to share that experience during the Hungarian Revolution. Discussions during this reunion brought out that many of us thought at the time that President Eisenhower should have sent our forces into combat when the Russians moved to put down that rebellion. Time has proven that the old general was really a man of peace and that he was right in his actions. We are thankful now that he acted as he did and preserved the uneasy peace.
Our next reunion will be on the East Coast as most of our members who were, for health reasons, unable to make this one live in that area. We plan to meet in the historic city of Charleston, South Carolina, at a date to be determined. That will be the 11 such reunion. For a change, we made tentative plans for the 12th reunion at the same time. That one will be held in San Diego in 2006. Hopefully, we will all be in good enough health to meet and enjoy the experiences.
The state tournaments were bitter-sweet experiences. Both Winslow teams were eliminated in extra inning games. As is always the case in such contests, both probably could have won with a break here and there. Both had losses of key personnel to overcome and that likely affected their chances.
Our teams showed not only their talent but their fine characters. They took the defeats hard, but reacted with dignity. They were not “good losers.” These young men and women did not lose. They just did not happen to be fortunate enough to win the game. They won the admiration and respect of all who witnessed their efforts, including their opponents.
There was a considerable controversy before the end of the girls’ game. I won’t address the end of the bottom of the seventh innings except to say that the play at the plate that could have given Winslow the win was very close. What should not have happened was the lengthy delay between the end of that inning and the start of the top of the eighth. There is just no excuse for the umpire not knowing how to proceed or the tournament officials not being able to produce the answer to any question on this matter immediately. That delay may or may not have affected the outcome of the game. There is no way to know for sure.