Have an adult beverage at any of one of the great bars and restaurants that support our park and our program? Please; help yourself. Have a nice cocktail on the sideline of your child's pee-wee football game at NYO? Please do not.
NYO baseball lost one of its finest last Thursday. John McIntyre passed away at the age of 56 after an extended battle with brain cancer.
John was a long time equipment director and coach in the baseball program as well as a critical baseball committee member during a period of much change in the program. As the size of the baseball program was mushrooming, fields were being added left and right and new volunteers being incorporated every day, Johnny Mac was a rock. His typical reaction to a late night call for an all hands meeting early on a Saturday morning was "I'll be there 15 minutes early".
John was also a founding member of the unofficial and somewhat mysterious "kitchen cabinet". The cabinet was made up of a number of younger volunteers who helped steer the program and provide me with phenomenal ideas that were vetted at the kitchen table of one of its members. John was the conscience of the committee. His incredibly dry wit, compassion and absolute grasp of understanding that NYO was so much about the community than just the baseball was invaluable. So many of our finest volunteers came out of that age group and have kids who are now juniors and seniors in college. There are far too many of you to name, but you know how you are and thank you all.
While it is comforting to know that John is now at peace, it is also a bit ironic. John was always peaceful, kind and a gentleman in the old-school sense of the word. Like so many of us, John showed an enormous amount of pride in the exploits of his kids Jack and Kate on the baseball and softball fields. However, it never affected his judgment, his dedication to the program or his ability to pitch in at a moment's notice. Thanks to the Linda and the kids for allowing John to spend so much time with us over the years.
NYO is incredibly fortunate to have so many John McIntyres volunteering on a daily basis. Many, like John, made it their mission to stay involved in the program for a long time and well past their kids' involvement in the program. It is unfortunate that we don't recognize some of these folks until an event like this, especially dedicated volunteers like Chris Deisley, Sid Fortson and Stan Arnold who all passed within the last year. So let me take a second to recognize all of you who have given so much and thank you for all of your time over the years.
The McIntyre family ran in many circles in the Atlanta community. We are so fortunate they gave us as much of their time and energy as they did to our NYO family. Personally, I consider myself lucky to have had John as a friend and a guide. The outpouring of emails about John and his family this week has been touching. As I look through the emails, the emotion and well regard in which John was held is evident. The names on the threads in the email read like a few chapters in the NYO history book. I look forward to seeing so many of you later this week.
Our hearts go out to Linda, Jack and Kate. Please know if there's anything NYO or the baseball committee can ever do for you your family, just say the word. We'll be there 15 minutes early. Godspeed, John.
Submitted by Cliff Barshay, NYO Baseball Commissioner
Twenty-eight years. That’s how long I’ve been an NYO parent-coach-volunteer. If you asked me how our organization works, how it continues to improve, I’d recite a litany of names. It would be a list of thousands --- parents and non-parents alike --- who commit their time each year for the love of children and for the games they play. They’re the people --- starting with Jane Wilkins --- who have given us the premier youth-sports organization in the South.
In 65 years, we’ve grown to serve 2,500 families with 5,000 registered baseball, fastpitch softball, football, basketball and cheerleading children, ages 4 to 14. We also operate the Christopher League for children with special needs.
We do it all in the heart of Atlanta’s biggest and busiest park, Chastain, or on high-quality playing fields we maintain with school and church partners.
A romantic might call it the Miracle of NYO. But romances, even the best ones, hit rough patches. Even miracles have shelf life and an expiration date. Leaders move on. Volunteers find new interests. Success breeds complacency, which can yield to mediocrity. Tough economic times strain everyone. Bad things do, occasionally, happen.
No one can anticipate every challenge, every opportunity. But if you’re paying attention you might just catch the next updraft or avoid the unexpected wind shear. That’s why, a year ago, NYO’s board set out to develop a detailed three-year strategic plan that will guide operations and decision-making. (click headline or image to read more)
Sunday afternoon, September 13th was especially exciting at NYO. We had Football Opening Day Ceremonies, softball games, baseball games, football practices, cheer practices and the dedication of the new pavilion. Truth be told, softball and football kids have already been enjoying it with it’s perfect location. The pavilion is located along Lake Forrest Drive beside the corner softball fields and Littles football field. “Before it’s construction there wasn’t a pavilion or even a picnic table in this section of the park,” as Larry Bennett, NYO VP, pointed out during the ceremonies. (Read more, click photo or headline)
The Chastain Park Conservancy will celebrate its 10th anniversary Thursday October 2 with an Amphitheatre concert featuring B-52 alums Fred Schneider and Cindy Wilson; Ed Roland, lead singer of Collective Soul; Mudcat and The Atlanta Horns, and legendary rock group Drivin’ N Cryin.’ The four-hour concert starts at 7 p.m., and tickets can be purchased by going to chastainparkconservancy.org. Cindy Wilson and Ed Roland, who live near the park, will perform with their own groups, Ola Moon and the Sweet Tea Project, respectively.
Proceeds from the concert will help the Conservancy keep Chastain clean, green and safe. Although it’s considerably younger than NYO, the Conservancy and NYO have worked together seamlessly to make Atlanta’s biggest (268 acres) and most-active park even better.
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