With some around Wauwatosa, in takes about 150 parent volunteers to organize and carry out Tosa Baseball League's Opening Day affairs.
Every one of those hard-working volunteers is worthy of recognition for taking on one or more of the innumberable tasks necessary to such an event, many of which began with the end of last season.
Kids have to be signed up and sorted into teams (and there is no "sorting hat" a la "Harry Potter"), coaches recruited and assigned, complex schedules set for multiple league levels, uniforms ordered – and on and on.
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Opening Day itself is a mammoth undertaking, getting all those teams into a game, hauling loads of equipment, food and drinks, plus the added celebratory touches – a PA system at each diamond for play-by-play and color announcers....
And, there's the band.
One Opening Day object is to start as many games as possible with a live rendition of the National Anthem. Among the many skills and talents that parents and supporters bring to the field, and share freely, is music.
Last year, the office of playing the "Star-Spangled Banner" was carried out by a group calling itself the UW Alumni Band.
They were back again this year, but under a new name because they took on a new member who is not a UW alum. So, in fitting fashion, they dubbed themselves the official Tosa Baseball League Band.
Dean Teofilo, Scott Mason and Mary and Douglas Johnson make up the alumni portion of the band, fielding one trumpet (Mason) and three trombones.
Luke Stockbauer chimes – or blows – in this year with a second trumpet, adding a new layer of harmony above the rich underpinning provided by the trombone section.
It is not light duty that these five do. They can't be in three places at once – games are played at , and Breitlow Field, south of the parking lot.
But by carefully coordinating their time with the game schedules, and a whole lot of running back and forth, the TBL Band planned to play the Anthem at 19 games Saturday, spread as evenly as possible across the three locations and across different age groups.
"It's worth it," Douglas Johnson said. "These youngest kids, especially, they stand there just stiff. It's really special to them. It makes it real."
The Johnsons have a special story of their own, were it not for which there might have been no Alumni Band.
"We didn't meet in the band," Mary Johnson said. "We were already together, and he was in the band. I played cello.
"Well, band takes so much time, I realized I would never see much of him. So, over the summer, he taught me to play trombone so I could join.
"It's actually the same register as cello."
By the end of the day – games started from 9 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. – the band members said they would have worn-out embouchures.
The cure for swollen lips? "Lots of Carmex," they said.
The band members asked Patch to spread the word that more muscians are welcome – and there must be more. Just contact the Tosa Baseball League to volunteer.