At the start of 2019, the Protect The Game initiative was mostly a product of ideas, imagination and aspiration.
With ever-growing portions of the youth sports world feeling the pain of referee/official shortages, and the always pressing concerns about how to reintroduce military veterans to civilian life, Protect The Game began the year intent on pulling these two topics together. The idea took flight, where ex-military men and women would receive training on how to be a sports official – already possessing the skills to master and execute a rulebook, these veterans would also have the personality traits that could bring order and calm to sporting events that sometimes see players, parents and coaches respond with strong emotion.
In November, PTG can look back with pride and say the Ed Jones Military Veterans as Sports Officials Training Center has taken root. Three separate certification sessions have been held at the center, based in the home office of Triple Crown Sports in Fort Collins, Colo.
Ed Jones was in on the ground floor of Triple Crown Sports in the early 1980s, handling umpire assigning chores for slow pitch softball, and then transitioning to fastpitch as TCS moved in that direction. He attended Texas A&M and served in the military; his ashes are buried beneath home plate on the main field at TCS.
Protect The Game is grateful for the progress enjoyed in 2019 and pleased to dedicate all the energy and effort to this point, and going forward, in the memory of Ed Jones.