For more than 40 years, Norm Robinson was a fixture on the Rutland and Kelowna minor baseball scenes.
As a coach and later as an umpire, he touched the lives of hundreds of young players, stressing effort and fair play as the cornerstones of both sport and life.
Retired from volunteering since 2011, Norm estimates he has saw well over 2,000 minor baseball games.
In each and every one of them, Norm tried to adhere to a basic philosophy.
“I wanted kids to learn the game, play it properly and enjoy it at the same time,” Norm says. “All I wanted was for the teams to have a good game, it really didn’t matter who won or lost.
“When I umpired, I made sure the kids played according to the rules and with fairness. It’s nice to win, but you can learn a lot more just from being part of a team.”
As for being nominated for a Community Leadership award, Norm is both humbled and honoured by the recognition.
“It means a lot because baseball has certainly been such a big part of my life. I guess it means I must have done something right and helped some young people along the way.”
Perhaps no one in Kelowna was influenced more by Norm’s actions over the years than Rob Law, a long-time minor player in Rutland and now coach of the Kelowna Sun Devils midget AAA team.
“Coach Robinson taught me manners, character, but most importantly he taught me how to coach,” Law reflects. “He taught me what it means to never give up.”
Included among the many young men Norm coached over the years was Paul Spoljaric, a left-handed pitcher who went on to play in the major leagues with four teams, including parts of four seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays.