If we selected a ‘Mister Loudoun County,’ Norris Beavers would certainly be a top candidate: Middleburg Postmaster for 18 years (retired in 2007), pillar of his church (Emmanuel Episcopal in Middleburg) and long-running President for Upper Loudoun Little League (ULLL). Born and raised in Loudoun County, he attended Lincoln Elementary and Loudoun Valley High Schools. Just think of the local residents he has known in his time, and the lives he has touched: Beavers served as Postmaster for the historic community of Waterford before his tenure in Middleburg, and he worked at the Leesburg Post Office prior to that. He’s held several positions for his local church (vestry member for five terms, cemetery committee chairman, and co-treasurer, not to mention lay ministry member for many years). His service to ULLL includes almost three decades as Board Member, and 13 years as President. No surprise that his three sons all played Little League, as well. Norris Beavers also does some ‘hoopin,’ with about 15 years of refereeing for the Western Loudoun Basketball League, and Board Membership for that organization approaching two decades. We’re happy to share his views on local youth sports, from this recent interview …
Tim Jon: How did you get started in youth sports – and, what do you enjoy most (these days) about being involved in kids’ athletics?
Norris Beavers: With three sons, I wanted them to have a positive experience playing sports. I realize I could make a positive experience for many other kids also. That is what motivates me today.
TJ: Not everybody’s going to be a Ray Lewis or a Roberto Clemente, but team sports can still help in our development. What are your thoughts on this?
NB: All kids should play a team sport. It teaches teamwork, discipline, success, failure… all things that are needed to function in society.
TJ: Sorry, but I just gotta ask: would you let your son play ‘tackle’ football?
NB: No. For many reasons.
TJ: We hear stories of distractions caused by ‘sideline parents.’ I imagine you’ve learned a lot of field diplomacy over the years?
NB: Parents most of the time can be your biggest problem. I always try to be level headed and make sure that everyone realizes it is only a game and let the kids enjoy playing the sport. As parents and citizens we have to show good examples for our children.
TJ: The nature of games ends with a ‘winner’ and a ‘loser.’ How do you help kids transcend that- even though our society reinforces it over and over?
NB: I am OK with winning or losing a game. As a coach or parent you instill in your kids to play their best and to always enjoy playing whatever sport they are playing at the time. No matter how good you are, there is always somebody out there who is better. Winning is not necessarily reflected in the score, it is doing your best and giving your best effort.
TJ: Isn’t all of this (running Upper Loudoun Little League) really time-consuming – and a lot of work?
NB: It is like having another full-time job, but I think all people should volunteer their time and give something back to the community. Many people volunteer at fire/rescue, work at a food bank, volunteer at a hospital. My volunteer time has always been working in youth sports. I think volunteer work makes this country great.
TJ: How have local youth sports changed in your lifetime?
NB: So many more kids play sports today. Having the necessary facilities to make this happen is always a challenge.
TJ: What are your favorite memories of all of this: big wins, kids who went on to play on higher levels, family involvement, other moments…?
NB: Being involved in ULLL for so long, it is hard to remember a favorite memory. I do enjoy when an older kid or adult comes up to me and tells me how much they enjoyed playing Little League baseball. I have been in it so long that I am now seeing grand-kids of people that I started with 28 years ago.
TJ: A lot of people think that sport activities just happen. Can you share with us the work that goes into running Upper Loudoun Little League?
NB: For one game there are 100’s of volunteer hours that go into making Upper Loudoun Little League happen. There are board members, coach volunteers, parent volunteers, parents who run the concession stands and do the ordering, coaches and parents who mow the lawn and work on the field, scheduling the games and make up games and also scheduling the umpires. We play over 400 games and in addition to that there are tournaments.?