(A Personal, Human Interest Story. Sometimes, It’s Nice to Change Things Up).

Jodie White, Alexandria’s longtime Parks and Recreation Director, is retiring after twenty-eight years of service. White, who is known in Alexandria, as “Mr. Baseball” has remained, throughout his career, passionate about youth sports, and his accomplishments have left a permanent mark on the landscape of Alexandria recreation.

As the Town Talk noted today, White’s father actually helped build Bringhurst Park, and Jodie has been instrumental in redesigning the park multiple times. Jodie says he wants to be buried there, but hopefully, that won’t happen anytime soon– because at 69 years old, Jodie still has a lot of living to do.

I normally don’t write this type of “human interest” story, but for the purposes of full disclosure, Jodie is one of my many cousins, a man I’ve known throughout my entire life, someone who always greeted people with a smile and a joke. And his service and leadership will be missed.

Indeed, many people have remarked that Alexandria is a “baseball town,” and during the mayor’s transition process, Little League recreation was named as one of Alexandria’s biggest assets, and this, in my humble opinion, is due, in no small part, to the work of one man, Jodie White.

Like many families here in Central Louisiana, baseball has always been our sport of choice, but none of us were ever particularly good at it. My grandfather’s family actually grew up in a small Craftsman down the street from Bringhurst Park, close to what is now the Little League Parks, and somewhere, there is a painting of all of the kids and cousins, numbering between ten and fifteen, playing a makeshift game of baseball, shirts versus skins, and Jodie was definitely in the middle of the action, much younger than the rest, playing on a field that he would later spend twenty-eight years caring for.

As the story goes, when Jodie was a young boy, probably ten or eleven years old, he dreamed of being a major league baseball player, and he’d practice every single day, rain or shine, at perfecting his play. But then he got married. And then he had a slew of children. And then, finally, at the age of thirty-five, when most major leaguers are hanging up their hats and collecting their pensions, Jodie decided, once and for all, that he’d be better off helping others pursue their dreams. And he’s not only done that.

Forgive my small stab at sentimentality, but if there is anyone who deserves the support and admiration of the entire community, it is Jodie White. Kudos, Mr. Baseball.

8 thoughts

  1. Jody knows everyone, and is now helping the kids and grandkids of people he brought up in Alexandria baseball. Despite all the incredible service he has done for the city, I’ve heard him say that he was thankful for all these kids, b/c of them, he’s been able to provide for his family all these years. He is a person who cannot be replaced, by 3 people. No one could possibly match his dedication.

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