Submitted by Jim Forbush, president, Northboro Baseball and Softball Association, Northborough
I am not one to take my issues public but I need to defend the great work that is being done at Northboro Baseball and Softball Association (NBSA).
While I respect the passion and loyalty that drove Mr. Furlong to bring his thoughts public, the fact is that his letter grossly misrepresents what happened last week and the feelings of the coaches and leadership of Northboro Baseball and Softball.
Sean Durkin is still a well loved Northboro Baseball coach. Sean was and still is a respected member of Northboro Baseball and I hope he will continue to coach for many years. I’ve often said that Sean is likely the best coach that ever walked the fields of Northborough. The annual board election was not about his coaching. At no time was Sean’s coaching position ever discussed (at the meeting or since the meeting).
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As to the NBSA Board election, I need you to understand there is another man on the other side of this - Jeff Fontecchio. For the past two years, Jeff has been involved in every aspect of our program across multiple age levels. This past spring, he stepped up to lead 495 Babe Ruth when no one else would (including Sean). When we needed the Memorial Field scoreboard installed over two weeks this summer, Jeff led the way. On the Saturday in late-June when the new scoreboard rose, Jeff was there doing the hard work. Sean was standing on the hill by the dumpster for about 45 minutes and did not come down to assist or say hi. These are the type of key events that form opinions in our young coach/ parents' minds about the leaders of Northborough Baseball.
The election was not a testament to Sean's dedication over the years. It was a testament of Jeff consistently being there over the past two years when we needed him.
Craig Murphy stopped working the fields in April. For Craig Murphy, I agree 100 percent with the sentiments being expressed. The passion, time and energy that
he brought to the Memorial Field complex in the past was without compare. I have played and walked the fields for years and understand how lucky we were to have him.
Unfortunately, this past spring, Craig decided that he was no longer going to volunteer his time to Northborough Baseball. In February, he came to me with an ultimatum – he would no longer work the fields unless he was compensated for his services. I politely told him no. Northborough baseball is an all volunteer organization and simply cannot afford to take on that kind of expense and still offer affordable programs for our kids and families. On Opening Day in late April, Murph informed me that he would no longer be working the fields.
That is when Craig Robert, Jeff Fontecchio and Dom Rosa stepped up to fill Murphy’s giant shoes. I mention these guys by name because they were the ones I always saw down at the fields. The truth is that there are many volunteers that work to keep our fields looking great. Memorial Field gets all
the press, but I can’t tell you how many days Todd Calder sacrificed with his family to keep our softball fields looking great this year. It was difficult trying to replace Murphy, but it was a path he chose, not Northborough Baseball.
Chet Leonard is still revered. Chet Leonard will continue to be the Northboro Baseball official scorekeeper as long as he wishes. Chet’s position is not a board position and was not up for re-election. Chet’s involvement, understanding of the game and history of the organization is valued and we hope to continue to have his support. I received a call during the meeting indicating Chet and a couple of others had mistakenly gone to the Legion instead of the library. We all waited for them to arrive before continuing the discussion and holding the annual election.
This was no secret meeting. Lastly, I need to provide some facts on the NBSA annual meeting logistics and results:
- This was not a secret meeting orchestrated by a few individuals.
- The date, time and location of the meeting were publicly announced on Sep. 18 and open to all members of the Northborough Baseball and Softball community (an email was sent to over 500 families and coaches in our system, including Mr. Furlong). In fact, 40 parents and coaches attended the meeting.
- Three people were not voted off the board. Only one person seeking re-election lost.
- Prior to the public announcement, I reached out to the entire NBSA board to make sure that the date was not going to be a problem. No one on the board indicated it would be an issue.
- After the meeting was announced to the public, Sean asked me to the move the date. I indicated that I could not move the date but asked if moving the time of the meeting would help. Sean never got back to me.
- The vote on the Northboro Baseball VP position was 34-4 in favor of Jeff. This was clearly not a small group of people who orchestrated a secret result. Sean was represented at the meeting and everyone spoke very respectfully of him. I still scratch my head as to why Mr. Furlong did not come to the meeting and make his voice heard. He received the same invitation that every other coach and parent in our organization received.
We are very fortunate to have several parents step up this year to take a deeper role in the organization. This level of commitment is critical to ensure that Northborough Baseball and Softball will continue to thrive next year and through the next 50 years.
I take the role of Northborough Baseball and Softball president very seriously and would never let politics or gamesmanship trump over my integrity and the well being of our kids. I respect everything that Sean, Chet and Craig have done and will continue to do in service of Northborough Baseball and hope that the
readers of the Patch can carry the same respect in their posts regarding the election result.