The “backbone of the league:” Meet the man behind Marne Little League

Posted at 6:59 PM, May 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-10 18:59:39-04

MARNE, Mich. -- Little League season is underway but those playing and coaching the game in Marne want to thank someone who's kept their league running smoothly for years.

Tuesday is tee ball night on Marne's Little League field. As parents were helping little ones learn the game, a slugger came up and hit a home run.

This age-old game brings 140 families together just this year. Yet it's the man with no more kids on the field who rebuilt this league and keeps it running smoothly.

"Little League is organized confusion," laughed William Lumsden, better known as "Red."

Hours before the first pitch Tuesday, like many days, Red is carefully grooming and prepping this field.

"He definitely the backbone of the league," said Harmony Morris, a first time Marne Little League parent.

It all starts with Red's love of baseball.

He helped start the Little League in Coopersville and coached his sons' teams there. Then he continued to help out in Marne when his grandsons took the field. But a few years back when the Marne school closed, Red says the community feared that would end their Little League. Red stepped up and helped recruit and continue to run the league.

Cheering for his four to six-year-old baseball players Tuesday night, Red says he's watching his babies.

"Eighty sweet souls I call them," he said smiling. "And they are so fun to watch, they are a trip."

From the parents who've been with the league for years to the new-timers, and the Recreation Director with the city of Coopersville, they say thank you, Red.

"He's the director but he's also the grandpa," said Danielle Terpstra, a Marne Little League parent. "He genuinely cares about every single kid. He works with our kids when we go to clinics like they're his own."

"Everybody loves him," said Dan Kaufman, another parent with the league.

For eight weeks each year, the ballgame played on Marne's Little League field is constant. But the lessons from Red are timeless.

"I just try to give these kids the best possible environment I can possibly give and watch them grow," said Red.