It was the closing note of an era.
The Lady Wave softball team honored one of their biggest fans after Tuesday’s home game with a dedication to Lou Buckmaster, who passed last year.
“I hope I did it justice, if you can do such a great man justice,” said softball coach Tammie Shemenski, who led the dedication.
In a small ceremony before the crowd of spectators, Shemenski and the softball team called the Buckmaster family onto the field and presented them with a plaque honoring Lou Buckmaster and recognizing how special he was to them and the program. The family was given flowers, and after saying a brief prayer, the softball team released balloons.
This final note didn’t go quite as planned though and, in a moment of levity, most of the balloons were blown into the backstop where they had to be retrieved. Shemenski said it was a moment Buckmaster would have appreciated.
“I thought ‘OK, Lou, we get it, you’re not ready for those balloons to be released,’” she said. “It kind of lightened up the mood a little because it was so emotional for everyone. It was a great memory.”
The coach said Buckmaster’s granddaughters on the softball team, Kayla and Rylee Buckmaster, were kept in the dark about the dedication. She recalled Kayla didn’t know what was happening when the balloons and flowers were brought out.
“When I saw the balloons I was confused at first and then my sister said ‘it’s for Papa,’” Kayla Buckmaster said.
She said her grandfather was special to the entire team and everyone called him Papa Lou. She said he tried to make it to every game and would often arrive well before games started.
“We would play at 3 (p.m.) and he would be here at 1:15 sitting in the same spot, next to my aunt, next to my parents, with his little umbrella. Every time I walked back into the dugout, ‘good job Kayla, I’m proud of you,’” she laughed. “He’s very missed this year; I appreciated what they did for us.”
The ceremony was emotional and a special moment for everyone on the team.
“It was really special,” Shemenski said of Lou Buckmaster’s dedication to being at their games. “He’s a special part of our program; he’s been a fixture at this program for a long time, since Kayla started softball.”
She also said she felt the event was doubly special because the Lady Wave won that day’s game with Kayla as pitcher.
The plaque will be placed on the home-plate side of the Fallon dugout where Lou Buckmaster used to sit.
Kayla said the ceremony was good for her family as a whole. She said it was nice to see the community still thinks about her grandfather and will never forget him.
“I just really appreciated it, because I didn’t expect something like that,” she said. “He really was our number one supporter.”