Dear friends, look at what we have done together! What an achievement this is! Atop 1.1 million pounds of sand and gravel lies an enormous, FIFA Quality Pro turf field that will enable Capital Futbol Club, CFC, to serve the children and families of this community for years to come.
Thank you for being here today. I’m Ty Davison, the eldest son of Ed Davison for whom this field is named. As part of today’s celebration, I’d love to tell you a little bit about my father, to explain why my brother Bret and I chose to partner with CFC to honor our dad, and to talk just a bit about what I think this field means.
Our dad, Ed Davison, was born in Montana in 1938. And that means he grew up playing baseball. He was good at it. He led the state of Oregon in hitting his senior year of high school and played four years of varsity in college. He wasn’t good enough to make the pros—had trouble hitting curves and was too slow he said—but he could hit fastballs, and as a left-handed switch hitter, he presented matchup problems for opposing teams. But in all the hours of practice and games, one of most important things he learned wasn’t specifically about baseball. It was about the value of sports.
What can we learn though sports? Dedication, teamwork, resilience, camaraderie, how to win and how to lose with grace, and so many other important qualities and life lessons.
Crucially, Dad learned that it didn’t have to be baseball to teach what sports teaches. So in the mid- to late-1970s when my brother Bret and I were more interested in soccer than baseball, he didn’t hesitate. He volunteered as a coach, and he attempted to learn everything he could about the beautiful game. He checked out every book the Salem Public Library had on soccer which, frankly, at the time wasn’t very many books. He did this because, again, he knew that soccer could teach life lessons as well as baseball could.
He did not stop with his own sons. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, when the Salem-area soccer landscape was barren, Dad started the Sprague Sabres Soccer Club. He began taking kids to games, tournaments, and even foreign countries to give them experiences which would positively change their lives. We know he succeeded. Late in his life many former players wrote him to tell him so. “Life wasn’t so good at home,” they’d write, “but with our soccer team, I had a refuge. I had a place where I belonged.”
Each of us has to answer the question of what we will do with the time we are given. My father chose to spend much of his providing sporting opportunities for the kids of Salem and the Mid-Willamette Valley. I am so proud and honored to have had him as such a tremendous role model in my life. I know Bret feels the same way.
The Sprague Sabres eventually merged with other local soccer clubs to become today’s Capital FC. CFC is part of our dad’s legacy, so partnering with CFC to honor his memory seemed the most natural fit in the world. And it has been. We could not be more thankful to Collin Box, Benji Orozco, the CFC Board, the CFC team, Rich Duncan Construction, the benefactors, workers, and so many others for the opportunity to partner with them to make Ed Davison Field a reality. Thank you.
And, if I may, I would suggest to any of you who might be considering a charitable donation to a nonprofit that in Capital FC you will find a group of people who get things done for kids, parents, and families. You can see before you one excellent example.
We attempt to raise our kids to be kind, caring, good people, and sports can help. Especially in this online age, there needs to be physical places kids can go to play, to compete, to engage with one another. Ed Davison Field is now one of those places.
But we’re not done. Ed Davison Field is just one part of a larger vision, a larger whole: Pioneer Sports Park. Whether it’s soccer—my favorite—or ultimate frisbee, or lacrosse or whatever, there will be so many terrific events here in the days, months, and years to come. Kids will come to play and to be subtly inculcated, or instilled, with the important values that sports teach. And they will be better people because of it.
My father’s life is now revered memory. What he accomplished, though, lives on in his sons, grandkids, his players, and through CFC. This field that bears his name is a marker of what he did, but were he here he would tell you that it’s more than that. It is the vision, desire, effort, and will made manifest of so many fine people—many of whom are here today.
I hope you feel as I do: That together we have done something great here and that part of what makes it great is that we’ve done it not for ourselves. I hope that, like me, you are proud of what we have chosen to do with our time and resources for the benefit of others.
Bret and I are very grateful. Dad would have loved this. Thank you all so much.