February 4, 2011
Mr. Schuster, ballhawking brethren, distinguished competitors, and fellow Ballhawks:
Tonight I want to begin by congratulating the men and women of the 2010 season. Personally, records and goals were shattered across the board. Collectively, our 2010 campaign was wildly successful.
It's no secret that those of us here tonight have had our differences over the last seasons. The debates have been contentious; we have fought fiercely for our ballhawking beliefs. And that's a good thing. That's what a robust community demands. That's what helps set us apart as sportsmen.
We are part of the baseball family. We believe that in a sport where every age and competition and point of view can be found, we are still bound together as one people; that we share common hopes and a common creed; to catch as many baseballs, at as many stadiums, from as many players in as many different scenarios as humanly possible.
Now, by itself, this simple recognition won't usher in a new era of cooperation. What comes of this upcoming season is up to us. What comes of the 2011 campaign will be determined not by whether we can sit together tonight, but whether we can work together tomorrow. We may perform alone, and seemingly against each other, but MyGameBalls is a community. We are intertwined by our common objectives, beliefs and fanaticism.
Today, more and more people are joining our community. More first career baseballs have been reported in 2010 than any ballhawking campaign that came before. This past season we saw up and coming ballhawks become powerhouses, and powerhouses become legends. Seemingly unreachable records have been not only challenged, but tied and surpassed. At one distant time, 1,000 career baseballs was thought of as astronomical. Today, 7 ballhawks have reached that mark, and are pushing the boundaries of 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 thousand. Game balls of any variety were excessively abundant, furthermore solidifying 2010's epicality.
Ballhawking had always been in the back of the baseball world's mind. It was in existence before its acknowledgment as "ballhawking". As long as there has been baseball being played, there were baseballs gone awry, and people to track them down.
Today, with all things considered, our daily new additions to the community, our persistance of the veterans, our meeting place and discussion forum of MyGameBalls.com, our continually excellerating performance, our shattering of our established records, and our communal love for the world's greatest game proves the ballhawking union has never been stronger.
I implore us as a community, to repeat our actions of 2010: raise the bar to levels once thought insurmountable. As separate entities, we can push each other to great heights. As a community, we can achieve greatness. In 2011, ballhawking's current state will merge with the shining potential of the community, and we will yet again ballhawk at astronomical levels. Go forth and 'hawk!
Ballhawk Shawn is a contributing columnist to myGameBalls.com and also maintains a Blog.