Let’s start back in 2009, when the OCWA was young. I found out about the National Wiffleball League Association through some Google searching and was immediately interested. A place that was completely devoted to wiffle and where we could talk about wiffle? That sounded great to me. Thus, we joined, not knowing what could become of it.
Fast forward to 2011. Our league was flourishing, as was the NWLA, which had just introduced the idea of holding a voting tournament to announce Team of the Year. It really felt as if we were about to explode on to the national scene. Mere months later, the idea of the NWLA Tournament was hatched by Chris Gallaway. We jumped on the chance, and were one of the first 8 teams going to Columbus to play in this now legendary tournament. We had no idea what it would become.
We arrived in Ohio to find a glorious scene. Free welcome dinner, free hotel room, lighted fields, and we didn’t pay a nickel. Chris had it covered. We won that first one and vowed to return until the end of time. Since then, the tournament has moved to Soccer First and become the premier event in the wiffleball calendar. And we all have one man to thank: Chris Gallaway.
The job isn’t easy, but if there is a guy who did it right it was him. He spared no expense to do everything to the max. He shouldered most of the load himself as well. Between getting the tournament set up, bringing in caterers, umpires, field staff, equipment, and managing a team for four years, I understand the reason why he’s leaving. It’s a burn out, a moment where it became too much. And you know what? He deserves a rest.
Chris did all of this in the name of bringing leagues together for a fun, yet competitive weekend. Now, he’s tasked us with carrying on his tradition. Sure, it’ll be a scaled down version of what it was, but it’ll still have his vision carried within it. So, Chris, we thank you for everything you’ve done for us over the years. Nobody knows where this sport would be without you. Down the road, when John Cronin is running NWLA headquarters on the Moon, there will be a statue of you right next to NWLA Founder John Converse. Jokes aside, we’ll sorely miss your presence, and we’ll do our absolute best to keep your tournament alive.