He worked at Timken. It was my understanding that whatever he did with ball bearings, he was one of a very few people who could do it. I know he worked so hard, and that all that shaved metal etc took a toll on him. I know he worked, but when… because it seemed like he had all of the time for us.
Hours and hours and hours… he would take us over to the cages at GWU and throw us hundreds of pitches. We would stand out in front of his welding shop at home and hit pea gravel with a broom handle for hours or forever.
One of the things that made a huge impact on me, on all of us, was the way he calculated batting averages in Little League. He was our coach of course! But the way he averaged us out was based on contact. If we put the ball in play it went down as a hit in the book. He encouraged us to take our swings and make contact! So I think I “hit” like .950 or so my 6th grade year.
Don’t misunderstand, this wasn’t just a tactic to make us feel good about ourselves. We were dang good. Maybe we rigged the draft a few years, but hey, what are you gonna do? But we kicked tail. Like 42-2 kind of stuff in Little League. We only lost a few games in my last couple of years with the mighty RED SOX. Champs!
Ansel, coaching 3rd and giving us the delay steal sign almost every time we got on. Aggressive. And he’d wave us around 3rd to score, windmilling that arm of his, with that eager and ecstatic look on his face, side stepping all the way down the line with us on many occasions. Hand over his mouth 🙂
He was an encourager! He was my first second dad. I’ve had many second dads along the way, but he was the first as we grew up neighbors. He was our advocate!
Ansel Harmon. A shining Light for sure. Not a perfect man, but damn, we gotta get off of this trend thinking that those humans exist. But even after his passing from this age, the ripples that he created in my life, and the lives of many of my teammates and others, are still fanning out through our own journeys and being shared with our kids. Ripples created by pea gravel hit with broom handles.
Thank you for all you meant to me Ansel. Rest easy my friend and mentor! And I’ll see you waving me around 3rd into glory one of these days.