If your child every played a sport, or you’ve ever attended a youth soccer, baseball or football event, chances are you never thought about the amount of work that went into readying the playing surface. Crestwood High School graduate Tom Goyne was not only honored for the amount of time he has spent on the baseball field, but as a matter of fact, he is making it a career.
American Legion Baseball Commissioner, Jeff Tokach first met Tom when he was helping to prep the baseball fields for The Mountaintop Classic –a charity tournament Jeff and his wife, Terry, created to benefit the Vasculitis Foundation. Tom and his family were friends with the Tokach family and they volunteered their services with umpiring, utilizing the snack stand and things. Tom, who was thirteen at the time, prepped all the fields for the weeklong tournament. Later, Jeff learned that Tom was also helping to maintain the Legion field with help from his dad, Kyle and grandfather, Sam Goyne.
“Dad always took care of the fields when I was playing,” says Tom. “Then I started helping him and I picked it up. We just made a really good team, prepping in Little League and Legion, it’s been our thing.”
Tom started taking care of the Legion field in 2009 when the organization needed help renovating the burnt-out grass because of a very hot summer. At the time, he had just had a great experience being an honorary groundskeeper for the Philadelphia Phillies through a contest and had also occasionally helped the Lehigh Valley Ironpigs. Tom used everything he knew to create a maintenance program for the Legion field.
“At the time I was trying to get the knack for and I eventually became good at it. “We eventually did everything to that field that is required for a professional caliber ball field. There was originally no such thing as fertilizer plan, or best practices in turf maintenance,” explains Tom.
As the Legion board saw the progression in the field, they began to give Tom a budget, allowing him to create a fertilizer and pesticide plan, as well as install an irrigation and drainage system. Eventually, Tom became responsible for ordering the chemicals, scheduling maintenance duties, cutting grass, chalking baselines, and maintaining the new, fully automated sprinkler system.
According to Jeff Tom has shown an exceptional dedication to the American Legion ball field.
“You could find Thomas there at 6am and at 10 at night,” says Jeff. “While the rest of his teammates were playing catch or taking batting practice, he’d be on the tractor dragging the infield and chalking baselines. He never asked for anything, he just did it because he lived it and was interested in it.”
That is why Jeff approached the Legion board of directors to honor Tom as he went off to college –he started his freshman year last week at Penn State University, main campus, toward (fittingly) a major in Turf Grass Management.
“He’s really into it and knows his stuff and I just thought, for all the time this kid put in, we could show him a little gratitude for all the work he did,” relates Jeff. “If we were paying him 10 cents an hour, we wouldn’t have enough money to pay him for all the work he did. I wanted him to know we appreciated all of it”
A ceremony was held on August 13 where American Legion directors Martine Columbo, Al Finn, Bob Derwin, John Columbo and Chester Buff presented with a check for $1000.00 for school expenses and a signboard on Veteran’s Field honoring him for all his hard work and dedication. His #41 jersey was also retired that evening as well.
Tom credits many people around
See Goyne page 4