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A world war – a unique softball team – a good friend

St Petersburg Florida prides itself on no longer being a city of retired folks – the average age of its population is under 40! But one relic of "retirement" is St Pete’s Kids & Kubs softball team: the minimum age for players is 75. Created in the Great Depression, Kids & Kubs have played softball here in St Petersburg for 78 years. They’re a great bunch of guys.

Recently, with the help of Sho Ishida, an independent TV director in New York, and his Japanese colleagues, Kids & Kubs travelled from St Petersburg to Pearl Harbor to play softball against Japanese veterans of World War II who had been training in Takamatsu, sister city of St Petersburg.

St Pete’s Kids & Kubs won 14-2. Karl Sommer scored two hits. Karl Sommer, a friend for more than 20 years, died a few days after returning, at age 81, of a heart attack, at home with his family. Karl had hired Tami, my daughter, to teach him Computer Kindergarten. Many years ago Tami closed that business, opened a graphic design business, and finally, closed that and joined me in real estate. Karl wouldn’t let Tami quit. She’s met with Karl every week for an hour – for fourteen years.

Today was Karl’s funeral – filled with both tears and laughter, as Karl was full of life and caring and humor. Some 400 people were there, including the Kids & Kubs who filled several rows, all in their uniforms. After the benediction, everyone was asked to join in singing the national anthem. The many references in the song to the "banner" had a new meaning, as I related that to all the banners Karl created over the years. At the conclusion of the anthem, the Kids & Kubs, in unison, shouted: "Play Ball!"

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