By Owen Gotimer
Purcellville (July 10, 2015) – Thirty years after first volunteering his services, Upper Loudoun Little League president Norris Beavers has stepped down.
But he would not leave his longtime post without a bang.
On July 7, Virginia District 16 Little League – the local level organization from which ULLL operates – presented Beavers with the first ever John B. Murphy Volunteer Service Award.
John Murphy — who passed away on Sept. 7, 2014 – was a founding member of Central Loudoun Little League in Leesburg, instrumental in forming Dulles Little League in Ashburn and a constant presence since the forming of Virginia District 16.
The District 16 staff established the John B. Murphy Volunteer Service Award so Murphy’s legacy could live on.
A 30-year board member of Upper Loudoun Little League, Beavers served as a board member at-Large for one year, the Purcellville town rep for 15 years and the league’s president for the last 14 years.
“What he has done for the kids in Upper Loudoun cannot be calculated by any formula,” longtime ULLL coach Jeff Brown said. “His love for the game and fair play will be remembered for years to come.”
Beavers – who graduated from Loudoun Valley High School in 1971 – sat down with LoCoSports editor-in-chief Owen Gotimer to give us the scoop: inside the huddle.
Owen Gotimer: Congratulations on 30 years of service to Upper Loudoun Little League! What does it mean to be honored with the John B. Murphy Volunteer Service Award after working alongside Murphy for all those years?
Norris Beavers: It truly is an honor, and I take great pride in being the first person to accept that award on the behalf of John Murphy. John Murphy was one person who motivated me to stay in Little League. That’s part of the fun of doing this: it’s for the kids, but it’s also just some of the fun you have with the volunteers. John was one those people. It couldn’t be any higher of a tribute to be the first to receive an award in his memory.
Gotimer: You started volunteering for ULLL in 1985. What got you interested in supporting the youth of Western Loudoun all those years ago?
Beavers: My son was ready to play baseball and as with most things when you go to sign up for the first time you don’t know anything. I went to an Upper Loudoun board meeting and one of the board members got smart with me and asked if I thought I could do any better. I’ve been going to board meetings ever since.
I had three sons, and of course, they all played baseball. You just get involved and one thing leads to another.
I enjoy doing this. Is it work? Absolutely. Is it a pain in the butt? Of course. But I do enjoy watching the kids develop as players.
I love the game on the small field, more so than the big field. Watching these 12-and-under kids on the small field is just a joy; if I can make it better for them, I’m there.
Gotimer: It obviously takes a lot of dedication to be involved with something for 30 years, but even just one year of volunteering can help the local youths. What would you tell someone who was interested in starting to volunteer with Little League?
Beavers: First of all, baseball is a great sport. It’s a great sport for your kids to play because it teaches them team ball, it teaches them discipline, it teaches them respect and it teaches them they have to work because if you don’t work at baseball, you’re not very good at it. Those are all good lessons for kids to learn.
I’ll tell you, your kids grow up fast. My youngest one is 26. They are all out of college. Two of them are married. I have four grandkids. It wasn’t that long ago that they were playing here. If you can make it better for them, get involved and be a part of it.
Gotimer: After thirty years, I’m sure you’re filled with memories. Is there one that stands out above the rest?
Beavers: We finally got lights at Haske Field. It took me years to get these approved. But the reason I was so determined was way back we didn’t have lights here, and we had a good 12-year-old all-star team. We were supposed to host the District 3 championship, but one night it got rained out then the next night it got rained out so the district administrator said we had to move the game to a lit field so they moved the game to a field in Front Royal Little League the next night under the lights.
We went over there and played Bridgewater – who was our nemesis back then. We hopefully would have won the championship in front of the Purcellville crowd, but we went over there and lost. Driving home that night, I said that would never happen again.
Gotimer: Without giving the locals too much insider knowledge, do you mind sharing your most embarrassing moment in sports?
Beavers: This is not really embarrassing, and I take a lot of pride in it, but I was a little bit embarrassed; it was when District 16 hosted the 12-year-old Little League baseball tournament a few years ago in Leesburg. I was the assistant tournament director responsible for a six-inning, three hour, forty-five minute game in the 100-degree heat and no matter what I did I just couldn’t get it to speed up.
In a way it’s funny because everybody kids me about it, but it was a little bit embarrassing. I think they played two games on the other field, and I just couldn’t get my game to finish.