The 8th Annual Ruffnecks Banquet was held at The Four’s in Quincy with a packed house in attendance. It was another evening that did not disappoint the 160 guests who braved the commute. As usual, players arrived to tables decked out with the 2015 yearbook. The first thing they do is to thumb through the book and recount the experiences of the past season. But most importantly the Banquet is an affirmation of the Ruffnecks culture. It is an evening where teammates have a chance to get together in person. Sure, social media enables them to maintain contact with each other, but nothing replaces the gathering of friends and teammates at a single location. Parents, and the occasional sibling, also enjoy food, conversation, and the bonds that evolve in the context of the Ruffnecks experience, in an evening where much more than baseball is celebrated.
Each year the “Senior” class is a central part of the evening’s festivities, and this year provided a particularly “Senior” theme. The guest speaker was none other than a parent of one of the five-year seniors, who delivered a personal, yet universal message for Ruffnecks players and families. He opened his remarks with characteristic humility, pointing out that during his son’s five year experience we had guest speakers such as Hall of Fame player Jim Rice and Red Sox poet laureate, Dick Flavin. Indeed, those are impressive speakers, but none matched the poignancy of this year’s message, and those in attendance were affected emotionally and genuinely.
The Banquet also features the Ruffnecks Video presentation, and of course the central theme of the evening, which is the value of teammates. The annual Johnny Pesky Teammate Award is presented to a member of each Ruffnecks team. The award winners are presented with a copy of David Halberstam’s book about the last time Johnny Pesky, Dominic DiMaggio, Bobby Doerr, and Ted Williams enjoyed each others company. Dick Flavin has a prominent role in the non-fiction account as well. The 2015 Pesky Teammate Awards were presented to the following: 13U – Holt Fletcher; 14U – Mitchell Schroeder; 15U – Billy Seidl; 16U – Michael Doyle; and the Seniors were two of the finest teammates, and closest friends – Chris Galland & Scott Holzwasser. Dinner… laughs… a few moments celebrating the program, looking back, looking inward… and the evening was over. As the Ruffnecks head into the 2016 season we appreciate all who attended, and miss all who could not join us.