On Friday, Jerry Reilly joined Marv Cummings and Ray Spacht for a round of golf at Pinehurst Golf Club in Westfield.
Anecdotally, Spacht won, beating his buddies in one shot.
But that’s not the main reason the trio got together.
Cummings, the president of the Chautauqua County Baseball Umpires Association, had something to say to fellow umpire Reilly, with help from Spacht, who is also a CCBUA member.
He was supposed to wait until they were around, but after completing four holes, Cummings couldn’t wait any longer.
“We were getting ready to play at No. 5, we opened a beer and broke it,” Cummings said.
The news nearly brought Reilly to tears.
It’s not every day that you are recognized as the best by your peers.
So, in October, Reilly will make a trip to Binghamton where he will be presented with the Tony DeVivo “Referee of the Year” Awarded by the New York State Baseball Umpires Association.
This honor crowns a whole journey for the Dunkirk, on and off the pitch.
Almost exactly a year ago, Reilly was diagnosed with leukemia. After months of treatment, he was declared in remission, and by the start of the high school baseball season this spring, he was back to umpiring, as he has for the past four decades.
“He refereed my high school games. That’s how long he’s been doing it. Cummings said. “He’s the reason I got into arbitration, the reason I joined the board and became a board officer. I wasn’t going to come back, but when Jerry had his battle with leukemia, the first thing he said to me was, ‘Look, the only thing I want to do is get back on the court with you.’ So I said, ‘I’m not stopping now.’ We came back and had a great season.
Cummings said he named Reilly in May and was told the news just over a week ago.
“He knows the rules, No. 1, and he just has that calm demeanor that makes him a successful referee,” Cummings added. “He takes care of the players and the coaches like no other referee. He’s a people person and he just has the ability to keep control of the game.”
In addition to his presence on the court, Reilly, who was not immediately available for comment, has been the CCBUA’s trader for more than 20 years.
“It’s the most work, and it does it so (well)”, Cummings said. “He has the respect of all the coaches, all the sports directors and he has the respect of our board of directors. He’s the glue, he really holds things together. He is the voice of reason.
Now the “voice of reason” will receive her profession’s highest honor on October 1.
“It makes me as happy as him” Cummings said. “No one deserves it more.”