ROCKINGHAM — One man has put together a league, established and enforced the rules, and dealt with all the “B.S.” that comes with being an umpire — and on Wednesday, his players showed their appreciation.
The teams that make up the Richmond Adult Soccer and Richmond Adult Kickball leagues, along with restaurants HWY 55 and La Cabana, pitched in to make a donation to Chris Singletary, who put together the leagues — in their fifth and third seasons, respectively — that each year contribute a scholarship to Richmond Senior High School soccer players.
“You put up with a lot of bull … B.S.,” said Jason Graham, censoring himself as he presented Singletary with the donation and a plaque after stopping play, a move he knew would annoy Singletary. “We just want to say thank you. … You’ve been selfless.”
The leagues kicked off their playoffs earlier this week, with the semifinal and championship games held Wednesday capping off the most popular season yet for the league. Singletary was emotional during the presentation while flanked by his family and with the remaining teams forming a semicircle around him as the sun went down.
He said if it weren’t for the more than 300 athletes willing to compete with other members of the community, he’d just be at home watching T.V.
“I do everything for them; they shouldn’t be doing anything for me,” Singletary said after the presentation. “It was unexpected but appreciated.”
Chris Larsen, coach of the high school soccer team, said the league had provided at least two yearly scholarships for students since it began.
“Being a head coach, it’s great knowing that there’s an opportunity for the guys and gals who play soccer to have an extra way to pay for school,” Larsen said. “It’s good that the community is supporting kids who might not be able to qualify for other forms of financial aid.”
Jeff’s Trophies, the No. 1 seed in the tournament, cruised to an 11-3 victory over the Ball Busters in the first match-up of the night, following up their easy win in the quarterfinal on Monday. The second game of the night, between the Richmond Young Professionals and the Kickball Killers, was a close one, with the Young Professionals coming out on top in a 5-4 nail-biter.
Jeff’s Trophies came out on top in the final.
Jeff Ingram, captain of the Jeff’s Trophies team, said the first season of the league, everyone was trying to kick home runs but quickly realized no one could kick the ball that far. The game now is all about “small ball,” where teams prioritize getting on base with bunts and sacrificing players to score runs.
“It’s something fun for adults to play,” said Ingram, who plays with his two sons — one who just graduated from high school and one in college. “Umpires don’t get enough credit for running the leagues.”
Melinda Murphy, captain of the Ball Busters, wasn’t able to make it to the semifinal because of work but supported her team in spirit. She said she started in the soccer league but never knew the rules — which, she said, “poses a little bit of a problem.”
When Singletary started the kickball league, she said it, the games were more her speed.
“It’s really rewarding to see our community come together to support the league,” Murphy said. “I’m glad we have something for our young adults to do, and it’s a lot of fun.”
The team from Jeff’s Trophies and T’s poses with their championship trophy after defeating the Richmond Young Professionals 9-6 Wednesday night, marking the end of the Richmond Adult Kickball Leagues third season.
Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2674 or [email protected]