Community Sports Hall of Fame 2012

Columbia's Skip McAfee was the long-time commissioner of the Cindy La Rue Co-Rec Softball League. (Staff photo by Jen Rynda / September 25, 2012)

Skip McAfee is a man who cares.

He cares that the rules are followed and the dates are right.

In 1991, he cared enough to take over the task of breathing life back into the Columbia Inter-Village Co-Rec Softball League.

The league, founded by Pat Ordovensky in 1980, was originally sponsored by the Long Reach Village Association. Games were played Sunday afternoons on the fields now occupied by Long Reach High School.

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The league fit in perfectly with the Columbia concept.

"It was community. Like the whole deal of meeting your neighbors at the community mail boxes. Having to venture out in the street and say 'hi' to your neighbors," said Michael Ordovensky, Pat's son.

In 1981, McAfee and his wife, Laurice, joined one of the Long Reach teams.

From its beginning, the league's premise was that it was a non-competitive activity and playing ability was secondary.

"The whole idea was that it was a social event rather than an athletic event, but we were out to play our best and do our best," McAfee said.

Everybody bats and rule No. 1 is that you don't argue with the umpire.

By the early 1990s, the league was dying. McAfee became commissioner by default in 1991, he said.

The 1992 season ended with four teams and one of them soon disbanded.

Primarily through announcements in the Columbia village newsletters, McAfee put together eight teams for 1993. The next year there were 12 teams and by the mid-1990s there were 16 teams, including some from outside Columbia.

"Sixteen was the maximum number of teams because of the number of the fields we had available," McAfee said.

Through the years, the league moved from the fields at Long Reach to those at Harper's Choice and then to its current home at Wilde Lake Middle School.

"The league was very family oriented," remembers former player Gayle Soriano. "People would bring their kids to the game, and players reffed for other teams if they were not playing at that time."

In addition to recruiting players, organizing the schedule, raking the fields, putting down lines and umpiring when needed, after each Sunday's games were over, McAfee collected all the trash and made sure the fields were left in pristine condition.

"The school system did not charge groups to use their fields," McAfee said. "I testified once before the Howard County council to charge because I thought if they charged then people would take better care of the fields."

During his 15-year tenure as commissioner, the league incorporated, got insurance, published a weekly newsletter profiling one team each issue and paid the school system for use of bathroom facilities. It also started a website.

McAfee played a big part in renaming the league the Cindy La Rue Co-Rec Softball League.