Margaret Thatcher once said that being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.
Chim Curry must subscribe to the same sort of philosophy. For almost 20 years, he has quietly been the engine that drives youth baseball at the Optimist Fields. The work he does is volunteer work, and it’s not like he has a staff of helpers to delegate work to. Curry is a one-man force that never seems to tire of the relentless work required to keep the fields, grounds and concessions running like clockwork.
On any given day, you can find Curry mowing and watering the fields, ordering trophies for upcoming tournaments, scheduling umpires for league games, chalking the lines on five fields, scheduling games, filling water buckets, keeping scoreboards working, selling hot dogs — and pretty much anything else that needs to be done. During league play and weekend tournaments, this is a dawn to midnight effort that very few ever see.
Ask Curry why he does so much — when he honestly doesn’t have to — and he’ll tell you three reasons:
• He loves to see kids excited about baseball.
• He is passionate about the game of baseball, and loves to see kids succeed, not only in baseball, but in the confidence that the game gives them on and off the field.
• And finally, he acknowledges that behind every man, there’s a great woman, and credits his wife Lori for her patience and understanding.
Bryan Johnson, who took over the Optimist Fields five years ago, said that Curry is unwavering in his love for the kids and the game.
“He just loves what he does, and it’s evident when you see the number of kids who come up to him every evening to tell him they hit a single or threw out a runner at second.” said Johnson. “I don’t know what we would do without him.”
There are very few true role models for kids to look up to these days, but if you want to find the perfect match of a role model that literally helps hundreds of kids each year — working quietly behind the scenes without recognition — head to the Optimist Park baseball fields and look up Chim Curry. You’ll have to look quickly, though. With game time always just a few hours a way, there’s lots to be done.