EDWARDSVILLE – To Edwardsville attorney Brian Wendler, baseball has been very good to him.
Wendler was recently named the Edwardsville/Glen Carbon Little League Association's 2016 Vanzo Award winner; the award is presented each year to a to a EGCLLA board member or a member of the area community who has done much to support for the organization, which runs summer baseball leagues for youths in the Edwardsville/Glen Carbon area. It is a privately run organization that is non-profit and is an all-volunteer group promoting youth baseball in the area.
“I've been involved with (EGCLLA) since 2003,” Wendler said. “My son for two years before I got involved with it; it's been a very rewarding experience and I'm proud to still be involved with it.
“It's quite an honor to be named the Vanzo Award winner; we all contribute and volunteer our time to help the youths of the community through baseball.”
Wendler, who is president and managing attorney for Edwardsville law firm Wendler Law, PC, also sponsors a team in the organization and believes there is much to be learned from playing baseball. “It gives kids a chance to learn how to play the game,” Wendler said. “But it also gives kids a chance to make new friends, learn the skills of baseball and how to play together as a team. There's a lot of camaraderie that kids learn by playing together on a team and kids learn about making a commitment by taking part in the game; they learn how to listen to what's going on and have fun doing it.
“A lot of lifelong friendships have been made by kids who have played here; I have many friends I still stay in touch with and get together with thanks to baseball.”
Wendler also taught his players many things about the different positions in baseball when he coached. “When I coached, I required my players to pitch at least one inning in a game,” Wendler said. “There were some kids who were terrified to pitch; they weren't sure if they could do it. Once they got on the mount and threw a strike, they realized how much fun it could be to pitch.”
At the youth level, Wendler believes that winning and losing isn't the most important thing about baseball. “It's about learning the game and the friendships that are made,” Wendler said. “There are so many good things about baseball that I'm glad to be a part of.”
Registration for the 2017 season will begin Jan. 15; for more information on the organization, visit www.egclla.org.
Feeney, 56, is a native of Granite City and graduated from Granite City South in 1978. He was a part-time writer for the old Granite City Journal from 1979-84 before attending Eastern Illinois University in Charleston,
from which he earned his BA in journalism in 1988. He has worked for newspapers in Sikeston, Mo., Rocky Mount, N.C., Seneca, S.C. and in Charleston-Mattoon. He also worked for the old St. Clair County Suburban