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If the CSSA ever invites a paratrooper to descend from the skies carrying the stars and stripes before a championship game, perhaps we can ask for Mike McFarland. I’m not sure parachuting is akin to riding a bike, and it has been over fifty years since he’s floated from the sky, but he has the expertise. He spent two years of Airborne training in Panama with the 8th Special Forces of the U.S. Army.
Born in Canton, GA, he rarely strayed far from home beyond his military commitment. His early exposure to baseball was pitching and playing infield for a Little League team. After that, he didn’t take part in organized sports for many years.
Mike grew up with a desire and need to be independent and succeed on his own. He began working at 12 as a caddy at the Canton Golf Club. At age fourteen, he accepted his second job at Etowah Bank near his home as a janitor. Twenty-four months passed, then he worked for Baker Flower Shop. He was soon asked to help at Baker’s Funeral Home, which also provided ambulance service, since there was no EMS in the county at the time. Because of the demands of this work, his employer asked him to move into an apartment at the funeral home, where he lived his last two years of High School.
He kept working on his baseball interest by playing on weekends against Industrial teams throughout North Georgia.
In 1966, shortly after high school graduation, he married Dianne, his high school sweetheart. A short breath later, the Army called him to duty.
Upon his return to civilian life, he began a long career in the communications industry. This started with Western Electric, subsequently to become AT&T. He settled into multiple assignments in an IT environment, surviving the divestiture of AT&T. He then worked for Lucent Technologies, then returned to AT&T where he retired after 32 years on a Friday and then started work with IBM on the following Monday, where he worked another 14 plus years. His career was always in the technology sectors, including management stints in Disaster Recovery and an IT support group.
But he and Dianne spent a significant amount of time watching their daughter Michele, who was a much better athlete than Mike ever was, and that’s impressive. She was a three-sport letterman, where she played softball, basketball, and track. Michele excelled at softball at Cherokee High School, then at Kennesaw State University (KSU) for four years. She was an MVP shortstop at Cherokee High and then KSU. Upon gaining her BS degree from KSU, she became an assistant coach with KSU to allow her to complete her Master’s degree.
Today, Dianne and Mike are the proud grandparents of five grandchildren, with two who display the athletic gene passed down to them. One granddaughter is active in travel softball, while a grandson competes on a travel baseball team. Future CSSA players? Far too soon, but certainly a possibility.
In 1996, after a softball game where Mike watched his daughter play, the coach mentioned a new league for mature guys, which had recently formed at Hobgood Park. Mike joined the crew of Arnold Fowler, Lowell Lawson, Les Taylor, Bill King and Jerry King, and has never considered stopping. Back then, he even became a part of a senior basketball league started by Lowell Lawson.
Softball has remained his recreational love. Over the past twenty-five years, he’s played second base, short-field, and the outfield. John Perkins got him started in tournament ball and Mike stuck with it for fifteen years. He enjoyed playing on Ray McClure’s teams, where he earned two tournament All-American selections, and several all-tournament MVP awards.
On one occasion, Mike was a member of Ray’s team, which played in a national tournament in Ft. Myers, FL, sponsored by the Softball Players Association (SPA). Twenty-four teams competed in the 60+ division, where Mike and his teammates emerged victorious in every game, not a single loss throughout the competition!
Tournament play can be grueling with long uninterrupted hours and no breaks between games. Mike recalls one incident where he glanced over at the right-center fielder and noticed the player had secreted a hot dog in his sock and munched on the protein treat between batters. That only made Mike’s stomach growl even louder!
He is most proud of his years in the National and American Leagues, where he earned batting titles in each of his decades of play, 50s, 60s, and 70s, an amazing feat, and a record unlikely to be matched or surpassed.
He most admired former manager Barney Greene, who inspired him in many ways. Barney’s passion for softball was legendary with a strong devotion to his players, who always came first. While Barney was gravely ill in the hospital, he asked Tom Ballard and Mike to coach the team for him. That was vintage Barney, more concerned for his players than himself. Tom and Mike coached the team through a successful tournament season, but the team just wasn’t the same to them without Barney.
Pleasant memories of family and softball fill Mike’s life, and he and his wife just celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary! Everyone appreciates a player like Mike: humble, hard-working, and supportive of his team. It seems he’s quiet in the background, but you still might see him parachute into second base to highlight a special event, just for old-time’s sake.

Written by Marty Aftewicz


March 7, 2022

The monthly meeting of the CSSA Board of Directors was held March 7, 2022, at Ralph’s Tavern/Zucca Pizza in Kennesaw, and called to order by Norm Thiem at 6:43 P.M.
Members Present: Norm Thiem, Ray DeLuca, Maria Burden, Leland Brown, Dewey Hom, Mike Maguire, Dan Bonham, Bob Werner, Mike Parson, John Humeston, and Dick O’Connor.
Absent: Robbie Crider, Randy Bergman, and James Bauch
A. Minutes of the February 7, 2022 meeting, having been emailed to all, were Board approved.
B. Treasurer/Financial Report, having been emailed to all, was Board approved.
C. 2022 Sponsors: Ray DeLuca updated the status of CSSA sponsors. Most have either already paid or have committed, and we have almost enough sponsors to cover the Skip Wells League for the first time.
D. Jerseys: Designs and order processing is underway. The Masters League’s jersey designs are approved for all teams and ready to order. The Patriot League (merged American/National League) will receive jerseys first.
E. Manager Packages: Norm Thiem distributed packets to all league directors to be distributed to their team managers who will collect player fees and signed waiver forms for all returning players after the first game, (due to probable weather-related delays of the season start).
F. Clarification of “Injured Reserve List.” Norm Thiem reminded the BOD that per the By-Laws, there is no Injured Reserve List. There is only a Reserve/Replacement Player List. Players who do not wish to be assigned to a lower league can be placed on the Reserve/Replacement Player List.
G. Review of New Player Evaluation Process: The BOD agreed that the 2022 Spring evaluation days went far more smoothly than in previous years. Many positive comments were heard from new players regarding the organization and professionalism of the process. Several members felt that a Player Profile Card should be created to provide clearer information on-site to Evaluators regarding which days/how many days per week new players are available to play. There was still confusion on that issue during and after evaluations. The BOD will make those changes in time for the Fall 2022 Evaluation Days.
H. Roundtable Discussion: Norm Thiem introduced the first of several roundtable discussions to identify current practices that should be incorporated into the By-Laws including the draft process and other items. Continued discussions will need to be held before the process is finalized.
I. Season Start: The various league directors will determine when their season starts, based on league specific situations and weather.
J. League Specific Rules: All League Specific Rules submitted have been approved by the BOD.
K. Bat Checking: This will be done at the first practice if possible and will continue when/as needed. Norm Thiem will order visual stickers which should be ready by season start.
L. Discussion of Possible Financial Assistance by CSSA for hardship of a league associate.
The meeting adjourned at 8:35 P.M.
The next BOD meeting will be Monday, April 4, 2022 at 6:30 p.m.


You know what they say… if you want something done, leave it to a busy person! Our very own Dick O’Connor, Director of the Lowell Larson League, venerable umpire, and member of the CSSA Board of Directors, brings you a new CSSA 2022 Spring Softball Facebook Group. He’ll be sharing player profiles, videos, events and more. There’s already a lot to see here. You’re all invited to join this new group and be fully engaged in this exciting season:


Welcome all returning and new players to CSSA’s 2022 Spring Softball Season! It has been a long, cold winter, and we are all excited to step into the sun and play ball. Whether it’s been a few months or a few decades since you’ve swung a bat, run the bases, or chased down a fly ball, you need to do a solid warmup and stretch routine before every game. A proper pregame warmup takes less than 15 minutes, and with CSSA’s exclusive video, you’ll have your pregame warmup and stretch routine done before you know it.
Avoid injuries—warm up and stretch like the MLB pros.
Check out the warmup video here:

February 7, 2022
The monthly meeting of the CSSA Board of Directors was held February 7, 2022, at Ralph’s Tavern/Zucca Pizza in Kennesaw, and called to order by Norm Thiem at 6:17 P.M.

Members Present: Norm Thiem, Ray DeLuca, Maria Burden, Robbie Crider, Leland Brown, Mike Maguire, Dan Bonham, Randy Bergman, Bob Werner, Mike Parson, John Humeston, James Bauch, and Dick O’Connor. Anne Ryan and DeWayne Logan were guests.
Absent: Dewey Hom

A. Minutes of the January 12, 2022 meeting, having been emailed to all, were Board approved.
B. Treasurer/Financial Report, having been emailed to all, were Board approved.
C. 2022 Sponsors: Ray DeLuca submitted his sponsor letter which was recently mailed. Nearly half of our sponsors are player-sponsors, which is a good indicator of future sponsor longevity which is excellent for the league. Ray will continue to follow up on all sponsors for full payment, hopefully prior to season start.
D. Staffing Issues: After some dedicated work by Dick O’Connor and Anne Ryan, it appears that we have a sufficient number of umpires and scorekeepers for the 2022 season. Anne, who will serve as a “floater” scorekeeper, is working on building a pool of alternate scorekeepers as well.
E. Player Evaluation Days: Dates and times are set, and CRPA has accommodated CSSA’s requests for field and pavilion availability for all four days. Mike Parson and Mike Maguire have done extensive planning for the Evaluation Days to ensure an organized and streamlined process with less administrative difficulty during the draft. Two board members with laptops and hotspots will be needed at each evaluation day to register new players online. Team managers are requested to come sometime between 12-2 pm on either February 19th or 20th (weather permitting), so they can sit down with DeWayne Logan of Misfits Sports Apparel who will be on site at the evaluations to help managers design their team’s new sublimated jerseys for the 2022 season. If the first weekend is rained out, managers are requested to come on the 26th or 27th. Bob Werner has designed an advertisement in the Cherokee Ledger which will appear on February 9, 16th and 23rd. Lawn signs for evaluation days were distributed to all board members and will be placed throughout the area in the next few days. Business cards with the same information were also distributed to board members to make it easy to share this information with people we meet and build up our association with new players.
F. Norman Thiem distributed the New Player Orientation Packets to all members for review. The packets include Welcome Letter, FAQs, Board of Directors Contact List, Tips for New Players + Unusual Rules, and Navigation Guide for the TeamPages website. The Board approved the packet. All new players will be given a packet on evaluation day. Maria will also post a PDF copy of the document on the TeamPages website, so it is available for all players to view as well.
G. Proposal for Adoption of Changes to Rules of Play: After an extensive study of proposed rule changes was completed by the Rules Committee, it was proposed that changes be made to rules 1, 2, 14, 22 and 25, and that new players turning 49 before December 31, 2022 will be eligible to play in the 2022 season. The board discussed and approved the proposed changes. A vote of the Board of Directors will be undertaken to confirm the rule changes on February 15th, following the seven-day delayed vote requirement. Directly following the vote, if affirmative, the Rules of Play document on TeamPages will be revised and republished with the displayed revision date. The Board decided that the Rules of Play posted on the TeamPages website (after the aforementioned revisions are complete), will be the Rules of Play for the 2022 season and future seasons.
H. Phasing in New Sublimated Jerseys in 2022 Season: As decided previously, new sublimated jerseys for all teams in all leagues will be ordered from Misfit Sports Apparel. The cost per jersey is $22.00. Due to the large number required and production time required, jersey delivery will be phased in, league by league as soon as available. The newly merged American/National League teams will have priority because otherwise they would have no jerseys to start the season. Teams in other leagues will use previous year’s jerseys until their new jerseys are ready. Team Managers will design their team’s new jerseys, with approval of designs by League Directors. DeWayne Logan of Misfit Sports Apparel will have a jersey design station at Player Evaluations February 19th and 20th 12-2 p.m. at Hobgood Park. All team managers must come to the park on one of these days to meet with DeWayne to get their design confirmed. For all teams, the front of the jersey will have the Sponsor Name, the right sleeve will have the CSSA Logo, the left sleeve will have the sponsor logo if available, and the back of the jersey will have the player’s number and Misfit Sports Apparel logo above the player number. Colors and designs will be determined by team managers and approved by the league directors. At the end of each season, every jersey must be returned to the team manager, or players will be required to pay for a replacement.
The meeting adjourned at 8:25 P.M.
The next BOD meeting will be Monday, March 7, 2022 at 6:30 p.m.