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LETTER: Sean Durkin Jr., 'Questioning the Direction of Northborough Ball'

Sean Durkin Jr. responds to the wave of letters regarding his dad, Sean Durkin Sr., who was recently voted off the Northborough Baseball and Softball Association Board.

Written and submitted by Sean Durkin Jr., Northborough

Anyone who knows my father, Sean Durkin, knows that on practically any given
afternoon, he can be found at Northborough’s Memorial Field. This has been the case since I can remember, for more than the past 20 years. He has contributed countless hours to the children of Northboro and the betterment of Northboro baseball. To list a few things: the lights, dugouts, fencing, scoreboards, irrigation systems, sheds, batting cages, flag poles, bullpens, and the very field itself were built in no small part by the help of my father and volunteers like him. He has coached from Little League up to Senior Babe Ruth. He is there spring, summer, and fall. Hell, he even plows now and then in the winter months. He has positively influenced the lives of hundreds of Northborough’s youth, an entire generation of Northboro baseball can say they have benefitted from his teachings.

On Tuesday, Oct. 2, while attending a planning board meeting, my father
was voted out of his seat as vice president of Northborough Baseball in a meeting held at the town library. As far back as the NBSA website records board meetings (Oct. 27, 2008) every single prior board meeting was held on the last Monday of each month, at the American Legion hall in Northborough. The board meetings were held with such consistency over the years that many of the long time supporters were left at the legion, with no such meeting taking place. Most of these supporters do not use Twitter or the NBSA website to determine the meeting time/location; there has never been a need to.

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I am not challenging the results of the vote, or asking for the move to be rescinded. I am asking people to question the direction of the new leadership of the Northborough Baseball Association.

I doubt that much of the current administration truly understands the work and
time my father has put into this organization, not for selfish reasons, but simply to better the children and therefore the community. I doubt many of the people casting votes will match a 20+ year service record, or stay around well after their children are through the program. I played my last game for Northborough baseball in August of 2005, and my father has only taken on more responsibility in the organization since.

The response from the literary team of Hodge and Blanchard makes me further question the direction of the new leadership of the program.

In what ways does this “new day” benefit the children of the program? If it is
truly “all about the kids” there are few who do as much for them as my father. I
challenge anyone to shed light on a legitimate issue with my father’s treatment of his baseball players. In return (as evidenced in various outlets as well as this website’s comment section), there are hundreds of children and families who have positively benefited for his love of the game, and moreover his love of the kids. In regards to the callous dismissal of Craig Murphy as a volunteer and as a coach, this also leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Mr. Murphy’s work exemplifies volunteerism at its finest, and I am proud to say that I know him. His countless hours of work on the field have made Memorial into on of the best fields in Massachusetts.

So if this is the “new day” of Northborough baseball, I am greatly disheartened. An administration lacking character, accountability, and respect to those who have contributed so much. An administration that deletes Twitter and Facebook users’ opinions in which they don’t agree. With such actions there is little need for a smear campaign. A new day, indeed.

I ask anyone who has met my father to be heard; it is not the way he has treated people and it is not right. Let the NBSA know that this is not how we treat members of our community!

In response to Mr. Forbush’s letter: for someone who does not take their issues
public you seem to be quite comfortable airing a personal conversation with Craig Murphy and sharing a simple petty incident with my father. By using this forum and your position to tell one sided accounts, you are in fact engaging in the very politics and gamesmanship in which you claim to be above.

Instead of describing this new day of Northborough baseball, endorsing the new vice president, or even giving an explanation of why my father was removed, you chose to write a letter defending the actions of the board. If the decision was made fairly and soundly, then why is there a need to defend it? Dave Lorenzi hit the nail on the head; a new location, record turnout, and absence of my father all seem to be a smoking gun to the questionable nature of this vote. I believe you greatly underestimated the impact my father has had on this community; demonstrated by the sheer number of those who will stand by his side in defense of his good will.

Lastly, to Hodge, Blanchard, Forbush, and the many commenters sharing their
thoughts and opinions—actions speak louder than words. Simply reiterating the
phrase “all about the kids” does not in any way benefit the children of Northborough.

Coaching them, mentoring them, and giving your time does; and no one has done that more than my father. It is no matter of opinion that my father has been involved heavily in nearly every field improvement that has been made, including the new scoreboard.

Some people don’t need to be seen or thanked. It is simply enough to contribute.

L. Bailey October 10, 2012 at 08:04 PM
Well Said Sean !!
Joe Reddington October 10, 2012 at 08:27 PM
I would like to first thank Sean Durkin for the influential roll he has played in my life as a coach, a role model, and a friend. I was part of the NBSA for the better part of 10 years as a player, umpire, and volunteer. I continued to be around Memorial as a member of the Algonquin Varsity, Northborough Legion, and Northborough senior Babe Ruth team. I cannot recall a time during the countless practices, games, and pick up games when Sean was not present bettering the facility, offering coaching assistance, or helping the players with anything they may have asked him for help with. All of the talk about the "New Day" in Northborough Baseball would not even be possible without the work of this man. Today, the experience of Northborough baseball players has been changed for the worst. As a coach, Sean was able to reach out to each and every player no matter what their circumstances and make the game or even just the experience a fun time. He did this while maintaining the integrity of the game and teaching each generation of players the right way to go about their business. When it comes to the facilities and the growth of Memorial field and Casey, go down and take a look at one of the best youth facilities in the state. This did not happen over the course of the past two years, it was the work of many led by Sean and his peers over the past 20 years.
Joe Reddington October 10, 2012 at 08:35 PM
as for those who say change is good and necessary for progress, please understand that change for the sake of change just delays progress. The experience and knowledge that Sean brings to the table in regards to coaching, maintaining, and improving the NBSA cannot be matched. What good does it do to push out a person who has succeeded in bettering the community? I am speaking out now, and I encourgage anyone who reads this to do so as well. please let the "NEW" leadership of the NBSA know that they have done a great diservices to the future of the program and our community.
Tim Woodford October 10, 2012 at 08:38 PM
I have had the pleasure of knowing Mr. Durkin for more than 10 years. I grew up in Southboro, so I did not have him as a baseball coach but he did coach me in hockey and I also benefitted from his help in a high school DECA project selling Christmas trees for Northboro Baseball. Two things stick out in my mind: on a cold day, he helped us unload more than 200 christmas trees by hand and arrange our sales racks, and upon seeing our signs he offered to help us to make better ones. We made signs at his house out of scrap plywood and they were bigger and brighter than any we could have come up with. In fact, one of the little tree cut outs is still on the corner of Hudson St. and Allen St. in Northboro, a nice little reminder of Mr. Durkin when I drive by. As far as I'm concerned, he's more than earned a lifetime position at Northboro Baseball and the board is worse off without his presence.
ET October 10, 2012 at 08:59 PM
Think it is time to let Patch get back to real news.
Jim Cooley October 10, 2012 at 11:32 PM
@ ET...I would argue that this is exactly the type of story the Patch exists for. Not sure what other "real news" you mean, but this is very real to many former players and coaches in Northborough.
DLF October 11, 2012 at 01:04 AM
Mr. Durkin clearly served the community well as did a lot of other folks but this was an announced meeting WITH the location included and the people voted. End of story. A responsible person now a days SHOULD check the NBSA website and his email and he should have certainly returned the phone call that Mr. Forbush placed to him to see if changing the time would be helpful.
Sean Sanders October 11, 2012 at 01:23 AM
Excellent letter, Sean Jr. I couldn't agree more.
Jim Cooley October 11, 2012 at 01:44 AM
Sean, know that many former players appreciate the contributions your father made to us as youth growing up in the Northborough Baseball Association. The fact that he has stayed the course and continued to contribute to the youth in the community, despite having no children in the program is a testiment to his character. I will always hold your father in the highest regard for these contributions, as a former player and resident in town. Despite his best efforts, sometimes others make decisions based on their own personal agenda. You are correct in saying that the response by Mr. Forbush lacked professionalism and came from a place that seemed defensive. None of us will truly know why this decision was made except him, but we can all agree that your dad made a difference and a positive one. If that is not appreciated by the new leadership in Northborough Baseball, then at least your dad can read these messages and know he is valued and appreciated by the people that really matter and the ones that he himself would say matter the most, the players.
MG October 11, 2012 at 12:29 PM
It might be a good idea to admit that a mistake was made and beg Mr. Durkin to come back to the board.
Ron Goodenow October 11, 2012 at 12:46 PM
ET, you do seem to be from another planet on this one (I know, a spaceshot alias). With all due respect this is 'real news' for a town like ours, and is far better than the constant political yakking and barking, often by people too gutless to share their names, that has made the Patch such a wasteland for so many readers and ex-readers. I am not conversant with baseball affairs here in town, but I have marveled at the playing field, civic involvement and obvious dedication of so many citizens. Something about this smells wrong to me and so I welcome as much discourse on the subject as possible.
Barbara Durkin October 11, 2012 at 04:46 PM
Dear Sean, et al, You have provided an eloquent account of unfortunate events that appear orchestrated by a new regime whose actions discourage volunteerism, thus undermine the interests of the children this program once served. The message the new day pioneers have conveyed is, "No good deed goes unpunished." The lack of gratitude for your father's. Craig Murphy's and Chet Leonard's hard work, dedication and community spirit is appalling. As you have observed: "If it is truly “all about the kids” there are few who do as much for them as my father." If it was truly about the kids, those who have faithfully served their interests would be honored and retained, not disparaged. Mr. Forbush's portrayal of your dad as hanging around the dumpster when there's work to be done was an assault on your dad's work ethic and character. During the last twenty years, I have had countless discussions with residents of Northboro who have expressed their gratitude for your dad's powerful influence as a role model for their children. I'm very proud of you for standing by your dad, and of the players who do the same. It is so nice to read tributes offered by those who appreciate his gifts of time and talent. You understand and practice the good sportsmanship taught to you by a first class sportsman, your dad, a highly valued mentor to the children of Northboro, Sean Durkin Sr. Well done, Sean, Jr! Sincerely, Barbara Durkin
Michael Bonner October 11, 2012 at 05:42 PM
Great letter... Northborough Baseball is heading in the wrong direction.
Craig Evans October 15, 2012 at 06:11 PM
Coach Durk has been a huge influence on my life on and off the baseball field for many years. I couldn't have asked for a better coach to play for. I have taken it upon myself to create a Facebook page where friends, family and players can voice their support for Coach Durkin. Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/128320223983496/ Please share your favorite Coach Durk stories or just show your support by joining. Thank you all and most of all thank you Coach Durkin for everything. Craig Evans

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