We are a growing family.
There are now six of us.
SofT the rabbit, Benjamin the black lab, Peanuts the elephant, Jenny the giraffe, Cuty the cat, and MR. Klops the horse.
And we have stories to tell.
The stories told in this magazine reflect the experiences of the editors.
Tune-in every Sunday on C Joy 2, Our newest radio station, for childrens' church. We have many stories to tell (high-adventure ... action-packed), fun for the whole family. All day.
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Though this happened several years ago, I would like to tell you what it was like as a blind man running a sighted organization of over 300 members. I have enclosed a copy of my letter of resignation as Commissioner of the Branco Softball League, which includes all the circumstances which led up to it. Do you believe that there was discrimination here, or not? My Resignation as Softball Commissioner By Bob Branco
Sometimes when we do things that are fun, we get caught up in too many politics, so instead of allowing stress to take over, we are sometimes forced to do what we didnít intend to.† For nearly eight years, I was the Commissioner of a local slow pitch softball league consisting of adult male and female players.† It is a regular competitive league, which means that I was a blind man in charge of a completely sighted organization.† How many other blind people, do you suppose, have been in charge of an organization consisting of 300 sighted members?† I was, and, for what itís worth, I was grateful for the opportunity to do it.† I never felt intimidated by my disability and the potential for it to affect my administrative capabilities.† The league, which is known as Branco Softball, was founded in 2006.† We started out with three teams, and as the years went by, the league expanded to six, eight, nine, twelve, and eventually fifteen teams by 2011.† Like any other organization, Branco Softball had its good moments as well as its frustrating moments.† For the first two years, we played our games at Buttonwood Park in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and at times, players and their friends would bring alcoholic beverages onto the field.† I pointed out that alcohol was not appropriate at a public park, but sometimes you canít tell people what to do when they are used to certain social habits.† To prove how hard it was for me to stop people from drinking at the park, I recall when one of my coaches drove me to the playing field one day.† He stopped to pick up one of his players who happened to be a police officer.† Before arriving at the ball field, the cop asked the coach to stop at a package store so that he could buy beer for the game.† In other words, if a cop drinks at the field during our games, or decides to give the alcohol to other players, what can I, as Commissioner, do about it? As the years went by, the drinking became a nonissue.† By 2008, we left Buttonwood Park and moved to a more private field in the town of Dartmouth called Jones Field.† It was located next to a beach and a few houses, and everyone loved playing there.† The first two years at Jones Field were quiet and without any major incidents.† By 2010, several neighbors grew tired of the activity at Jones during the evening because their privacy was being disturbed.† Eventually, these neighbors complained to the Dartmouth Parks and Recreation director.† Where I was the permit holder during those evenings, the Parks director informed me of the complaints, and asked me to make sure that my softball players try to be as quiet as possible.† Later that year, one of my players hit a foul ball during batting practice and accidentally broke a neighborís window.† The woman, who was 86 years old, had homeownerís insurance, but requested through the Dartmouth Park office that Branco Softball pay for the damage.† For reasons which I donít understand, the Dartmouth Park Director appeared to be intimidated by the neighbor, and asked my league to pay $158 to fix her window.† Mind you, it was an accident.† What if it happened again?† Should my league have continued to pay for damages which were not part of our budget?† The neighbor should have realized that while she lived near a softball field, her house would be at risk for damage by a foul ball, and as far as I know, this is referred to in the insurance business as assumption of risk. In 2011, Branco Softball continued to play at Jones Field with the understanding that neighbors would continue to complain about noise and lights past 8:00 at night.† As players were coming to me with requests, I sometimes forwarded them to the Dartmouth Park office.† I asked for two keys to the nearby restroom because it was difficult for people to relieve themselves unless they drove to a nearby store.† My plan was to give a key to a designated female, and another to a designated male.† It would be their jobs to let people use the facilities and then lock the door.† When I approached the Dartmouth Park Board with my request for the restroom keys, I told them that a 6-year-old girl, accompanied by her 14-year-old sister, were caught relieving themselves behind the bushes by a strange adult, but all I got from the Park Office was a recommendation to rent a port-a-john because the town didnít want to give restroom keys to outside organizations with field permits.† While I was making arrangements with a local port-a-john company, the need for a restroom was still evident.† One evening, a player relieved himself in someoneís yard.† Police were called.† Later that year, two of my players had a small confrontation over something personal, and although they walked off the field during the confrontation, police were called again.† Later, several players on two teams started a brawl on the field during a game, a brawl that the umpire couldnít control very easily.† Once again, police were called.† During that winter, when it was time to renew my permit once again to play softball at Jones Field, the Dartmouth Park Board took me to task.† They were fully aware that police were sent to the field on three separate occasions, and concluded that I had to put a stop to drinking and fighting.† I had no problem with this.† We suspended all the players who fought, and I assured the Board that there would be no more drinking during games.† At this point, let me stop to point out that as a blind Commissioner, I had to depend on other people to watch out for violations, and if nobody told me that these violations were happening, I couldnít do anything.† When I told the Dartmouth Park Board that I would make sure that there would be no more drinking at my games, they asked me how I would make sure.† No matter what answer I gave them, they werenít satisfied.† Itís almost as if the park board wanted me to be a cop, a baby sitter and a monitor.† I explained to the Board that Dartmouth residents pay taxes to have a police force in their town, and that it should be their job to drive by areas with a lot of activity to make sure that laws are obeyed.† What would be so wrong if a cop made frequent stops to my field just to make sure everybody behaved themselves?† Eventually, the Park Board told me that unless I agreed to hire a private detail officer from the town to stand guard during all of my softball games, I wasnít going to get the field permit.† To begin with, we had already budgeted our softball money for 2012, so there wasnít room for a detail cop.† Nevertheless, in order to save my softball season, I agreed to the terms handed down by the Park Board, hired a detail cop and played ball.† Each week, the league had to pay approximately $150 to the cop while he or she watched for drinkers.† I tried holding fundraisers to help pay for the cop, but they were not supported by the league, so the fundraisers were failures.† Although Dartmouth asked us to pay a detail officer, they said we didnít have to pay one on week ends.† Even though the money was not in our budget, I will play Dartmouthís game for a moment.† If the town was so determined for us to hire a cop to make sure no one misbehaved during our permit time, then why would they exempt us on Saturdays?† Did the town think that all of my players would have a major Epiphany on Fridays at midnight, and were guaranteed not to drink or fight during week end games?† I asked the Dartmouth Park Board about this, and they told me that we were covered by Dartmouth officials on week ends who were mandated reporters.† The official they were talking about was a young teenager who sat near the gate at Jones Field on weekends when the beach was open while he charged people $10 admission to the beach.†† While my softball league was paying a detail officer to monitor our behavior during week night games, another softball league who played at Jones Field had a major brawl on Sunday, July 8, 2012, yet all Dartmouth did was make them all shake hands and play ball.† They were never suspended, nor were they ever asked to hire a detail officer. After the 2012 softball season, the Dartmouth Park Office informed me that our softball league had to move to another field because Jones was being taken over by lacrosse and field hockey youth organizations.† We had to move our league back to New Bedford, while we owed a substantial amount of money to the Dartmouth Police for the detail cop.† During the winter of 2013, I had to face another Park Board who asked me to make sure that no drinking took place during softball games.† This time, however, I wasnít asked to pay another detail officer.† The Board chose to have more faith in my ability to make sure no one drank, even though I had to depend on sighted people to tell me the truth.† Donít forget, if players want to drink, and if their friends are the ones I depend on to enforce the rules, then they wonít tell me thereís drinking going on.† There is a city and town ordinance which prevents the use of alcohol in public parks.† The problem is that, up until last year, the ordinance was so ignored by the lawmakers that players who drank were convinced they would never get caught drinking.† Why shouldnít they feel that way?† The guys who always drank during games were set in their ways, so who am I to come along and ask them to stop?† I tried to raise more money to help pay off the debt to the Dartmouth Police, with little success.† I managed to pay off half the debt, but once again, most of my fundraising ideas fell upon deaf ears, which meant that I would get no help selling tickets or washing cars.† Finally, I informed my league that I needed to resign as Commissioner, hoping that others, who already said that they could do a better job as Commissioner, would mean it and do it.† Meanwhile, a nasty rumor developed concerning the town of Dartmouth.† It is believed that when Dartmouth asked me to hire a private detail officer from their police department at a cost of thousands of dollars, that the town knew I couldnít afford it and was setting me up to fail because they didnít want Branco Softball in their town any more.† It is believed that the town thought that softball causes problems for the neighbors, so any excuse to squeeze Branco out would be the way.† In other words, people donít believe that field hockey and lacrosse were valid excuses for Branco Softball to leave the area.† Personally, I sincerely hope the rumors are false, because no city or town should hide behind a lie in order to make their point.† If field hockey and lacrosse are taking the place of softball at Jones, then thatís wonderful, but if not, all Dartmouth had to say was that they simply didnít want Branco Softball in their town any longer, and thatís it.† One other issue I faced was that I incorporated Branco Softball last year, making it a 501 (C7) recreation and social club.† I did it so that potential donors and sponsors would be able to use their donations as tax write-offs.† As a result, I had to be careful of what type of fundraising I did.† The assistant city solicitor from New Bedford told me that 50-50 raffles and poker tournaments were illegal in Massachusetts, because the law classifies these activities as forms of pooling.† When I told my players and coaches what the assistant city solicitor told me, they laughed and stated that no one would ever get caught doing these things.† Nevertheless, when running a 501 (C7) nonprofit corporation, I answer to the Government, and it would be my luck that one day I would actually be caught doing what other organizations do.† I am fully aware that the Cancer Society, many Churches, victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, and many other organizations hold 50-50 raffles.† If it is so difficult to catch organizations that do them, then the law should be abolished.† With that said, I resigned as Branco Softball Commissioner.† The moment I did, the Facebook posts about poker tournaments couldnít fill my leagueís group page fast enough.† I told the new leadership that I couldnít stop them from doing what they wanted to, just as long as it wasnít on my watch.† This is why I closed the leagueís bank account and began to make arrangements to close down the Branco Softball Corporation.† The point to this article is about loyalty and respect.† For eight years I never allowed my blindness to get in the way of how I ran this fully sighted softball league, and to this day I hope it would never affect any other endeavors I may pursue.† Despite my feelings and intentions, politics, disloyalty and lack of support are what they are, and we all have our breaking points.
It was Christmas morning. All Six animals woke from sleep wipeing their eyes. They Spent Christmas Eve night sleeping having dreams of what they might find in the morning. On days leading up to Christmas, the animals talked about what goodies they would find under the big tree in the livingroom. SofT the Rabbit Said, "It is not the gifts that count, but the thoughts are more important." The newest member of the group MR.Klops the horse nayed "I want a new Saddle." Peanuts the elephant chimed in "I hope to get a new trunk." He said with agrin. Each animal shared their excitement.
Darryl and Vicki the animal owners, said "You may get bags of coal." "now get to bed." "No more talking." The animals went to bed.
Chrismas morning came and the animals awakened to a sunny day and a blanket of snow on the ground. All the animals stood in line at the livingroom door and waited for their owners to usher them in to receive their gifts. Each animal got a bag of treats and a winter coat to keep them warm. They felt glad to receive the coats for this winter proved to be a cold one. They showed their gladness by singing Christmas Carols. The talked of Jesus Christ who was born of the virgin Mary and was crucified for our sins. The animals understood the reason for the season. SofT the rabbit said, "I have a special announcement for all the boys and girls who read this magazine." "Do not let this day go by without giving your parrents a hug." "Your parrents are like Jesus." "they sacrificed everything for you."
Well, here we on getting ready for christmas. I am mo, otherwise known as Vicki. Kids and all can call me whatever you want but dn't call me late for dinner.)" I am a bit late with my story but wil catch up around christmas. "So what do you all want?" my animals?" I see you are jumping on the couch and gron people like me and Darry, oh no! Dad, otherwist known as Darryl, is putting his hands in the big candy dish. oh my, will he eat then all? (mom says )no don't eat them all, I wil want some. "Okay, " Dad says to all, "we all want some. But I have some more candy to put in later. Lots of candy this wish this year. Okay hope you all ate your dinner! Hey, I still get excitited as a mom. Still after all of this years. I love to go to shapping stories and go through lots of things o decide what I wantt to buy for who. Wow,, a shirtfor Klopsthe horse? I'm sorry but unless I nammake one I will jus throw a blanket over here. Oh,what a nice family we have! Well,let's stop for a minute with eating candy and think about christmas. Now, children,who is the more important pat of christmas? They allchimed inloudl, "Jesus and weknow he is the best, even better thanpresents, he will always give us what we neen. Hey someon take that bowl of candy away from Dad! no, just joking. Wow this is going too fast. Will write later this month. I hope you all have wonderful months here. Hey I just had a birthday. Yes moms have them too. Lots of chocolate cakey, yem! See you all later and God bless all of you!!
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Thank you for reading our magazine. Be sure to pass it around to everyone you know. Continue to pray for one another. And if you have an article(s) to share with others, please submit them by the 20th of the month. Please send your submissions to
Pastor Darryl Breffe&Vicki Meizinger Editors.
End of C Joy Magazine For The Young At Heart Christmas Edition 2018.