Tribute to Stanley Hay
(This tribute was put together by Nick Radmanovich)
Stan the Man was an icon in the world of Calgary Senior Men’s Softball. He was admired and respected by all those who had the pleasure of knowing him in our organization.
But, based on the extensive and very impressive reports in the obituaries, Stan’s career began long before he joined us on the Triwood Diamond. His triumphs and accomplishments with Softball Alberta and Softball Canada were nothing short of incredible. Driven by his love and passion for softball, he contributed more to the sport than anyone could imagine.
Stan enriched the Calgary Senior Men’s Slo-pitch organization by joining us at the turn of the Century (year 2000). He quickly became involved as a team manager, and he shared his extensive knowledge about the sport of softball with us. His reputation as an outstanding hitter was quickly recognized, and he was recruited to play on tournament teams that traveled to the Huntsman World Senior Games and to many other major tournaments.
In 2017, I was drafted by Stan to play on his Orioles team. After 17 years, we finally played on the same team, and not against each other. In the past three years, I got to know Stan not only as a ballplayer but as a great person and as a good friend. After every game, he and I would go to the Riverstone Bar to discuss the game that we just played. If we lost the game, I tended to be more critical in my analysis – Stan was always positive. In fact, I have never heard him say a bad thing about anyone (not even the umpires). He never cursed or swore at anyone, never engaged in any conflicts or controversies, and usually played the role of peacemaker. How could you not like this guy? Oh, and he always insisted on picking up the tab.
Did he earn our respect and admiration? Of course he did! Did every ballplayer in the ballpark like him and want to shake his hand? Of course they did! Are we all going to miss his smiling face and his disposition as a gentle giant? Of course we will!
I have many fond memories of Stan, and I would like to share a couple of them with you, if that is okay with all of you.
Way back in 2004, Bob Russell organized a team that was going to a Kamloops tournament. He advised me that Stan would be sharing a room with me. I said “I’m okay with that. I hear that he is a pretty good dude”.
The entire team went out for steaks and a few beer, etc and then back to our respective rooms. When midnight rolled around, Stan and I agreed that it was time for “lights out” because Bob Russell would probably do a curfew check.
Somewhere in the wee hours of the morning, I get hit in the head by a flying object. Stan had rolled up a sock into a ball and delivered a strike. He yelled (he never yells, right) “Nick, for Christ’s sake, quit your snoring”.
Well! I quit alright. For the rest of the night I slept with one eye open, thinking that the next missile could be his shoe, and he has a good arm! I guess I did fall asleep, because at 6:00am I was rudely awakened and I almost jumped out of my skin! The motel room shook and the noise was extremely loud. I thought it was an earthquake, until I heard the train whistle.
I swear that the train was coming through the room, and that was somewhat unsettling. I looked across the room to see how Stan was making out, and he was sleeping like a baby! Excuse me??
Another story! We all know that Stan’s voracious appetite for softball was only matched by his voracious appetite for sweets. My wife Jeannie would do her annual Christmas baking, and fill a big Xmas tin with cookies for Stan. I would take them over to Stan and tell him that Jeannie said this should last him over the Christmas Holidays. He would say “they will be gone tonight”.
The next day, I would say “Jeannie wants to know if you are enjoying the cookies” He would say “what cookies?”
Stanley, I will always miss you. I will never forget the fond memories that you have created. Rest in peace, my dear friend.