|Contributions to sports make it Miller time with medal|
|Local Content - Local News|
|Written by Stan Ashbee|
|Thursday, 14 March 2013 17:16|
Baseball is in Bob Miller’s blood, has been and always will be, and the lifetime Vauxhall Jet’s stadium visionary is the recent recipient of a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for service to his community and his country. Last year, 2012, marked Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s 60th Anniversary of her accession to the Throne as Queen of Canada.
“The way I see it is, this is a lifetime of stuff, this is in excess of 47 years that I first started working on the Jet’s Stadium. When I was 15 years old, it was the first year I helped a guy that was trying to get the water working. I started in earnest basically when I was 21 and helped form the Southern Alberta Junior Baseball League,” said Miller.
“When I was 21 I put together an opportunities for youth grant through the federal government to rebuild the Jet’s diamond in 1974, that was the first time we put a major effort in to the facility.”
Miller has always loved the game of baseball but growing up, organized sports was just getting started in Vauxhall. “I was a wannabe. The athletic programs, some of them were just starting. Baseball, as an example, I got to compete every second year,” said Miller. “We in Vauxhall, we never got artificial ice until I was 18 so that was our first kick at organized hockey. When I was 18 years old and it coincided with, the Taber arena had burned down the New Year’s before, so we had seven lads from Taber come across and play juvenile hockey with us in Vauxhall so we had a team and if they didn’t show up, then we didn’t do so good.”
“I still see those bandits that are still alive from time to time,” he added.
Hockey though, Miller said, is still a great game but baseball is a game about life. “I just really enjoy the game of baseball. It’s such a different game from hockey. Hockey, everybody thinks that their kids are going to the NHL so we push them like absolute stupid. In hockey, there are animosities that develop amongst adults and most participants and these animosities, they start in the rink because somebody hit somebody or whatever and you carry those animosities when you’re out of the rink. In baseball, things happen in baseball too, but you just leave it at the diamond,” said Miller.
According to the award winner, he moved to Taber from Vauxhall in 1995, around the time Ken McDonald had passed away. Miller said he got involved with helping design the Ken McDonald Memorial Sports Park in Taber. “I was born in Taber in 1952 and my folks moved to Vauxhall in 1953. In southern Alberta, I pretty much know every road and I know almost all of the Hofers and probably about half of the gophers,” he joked. Miller noted his kids played organized sports throughout the years, a fact that played an integral part in his community involvement.
“It was part of my vision to have decent facilities for my kids to participate in and everybody else’s kids,” said Miller.
Award wise, Miller was one of the inductees in to the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame, during the province of Alberta’s 100 year anniversary. An award in which only 99 other Albertans were nominated and inducted. Miller added, as for the Queen’s Jubilee medal win, he didn’t know he had received it until he was asked to attend a Vauxhall town council meeting on Feb. 4. He said later that night he perused the literature that came with the actual medal and surfed the Internet to learn about the prestigious award and to see what it was all about.
“You don’t get in to volunteerism for your community and for sporting groups with the idea of what’s in it for me? That’s not why you do it. In my case, it wasn’t there for me, so for me it was to have more opportunities for my kids. To give them a chance to do things that I didn’t get a chance to do.”
On an endnote, Miller offered a little advice and reflection regarding a lifelong love for baseball and sports in general.
“To me, you should participate in sports as long as you can walk. As long as you can move, you should be participating in athletics in one form or another.”
Not only does the Queen’s Jubilee Medal honour Her Majesty for her service to Canada, it serves to honour significant contributions and achievements by Canadians. In 2012, 60,000 Canadians were recognized. To have been eligible for this honour a person must have been a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada and must have made a significant contribution to a particular province, territory, region or community within Canada.
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