Years Active: 2000, 2003-2005, 2007-2010, 2017-2020
With this letter of support, I enthusiastically nominate Holden Knecht to the ECSA Hall of Fame. He joined the ECSA in 2000 by playing on the Seattle Confusion team, a sister team to Seattle Chaos. As a Gay City volunteer, Holden was recruited with about one dozen others by Dug Sharpe to create that team, which became the Seattle Thunder in 2001. Holden joined the league through the spirit of community service, and later that season was encouraged into leadership and won a write-in vote for league secretary. Service runs the entirety of his commitment to ECSA.
Like Dug, Holden has embraced recruiting players into the league, like Fernando Garibay, Milton Artis, Barett McGavock and others. In our conversations, he has indicated to me how important the league is to his life, and that it has made such a positive contribution to his well-being that he wants others to share in the experience of being included in a supportive community. I believe that when you are with Holden you will see this enthusiasm, which is powerfully on display for new members during recruitment, and through the season.
Since 2000, he has been a fixture in our league as well as the Rose City Softball Association (RCSA – Portland). Even during the year that he played with the Long Beach Sun & Surf League, he was identified as a leader/contributor and became their league secretary. He has contributed as a player, team manager and board member throughout his 12 seasons with the ECSA, and in 2005 he was honored as the ECSA’s Manager of the Year with the Seattle Torrents. In all three cities, Holden has been identified as a leader, and he has been happily available to serve when elected or asked.
It is this spirit of service that threads through Holden’s ongoing commitment to softball and raising up a community through this league and others. During his time with RCSA, it is worth noting that he advocated for teams to participate in ECC and was an ambassador for the ECSA while he lived in Portland. He reached out to me when starting a team for coaching referrals and I understood his drive to make softball available for all that wanted to play the sport.
Holden founded, or co-founded, five different teams and managed many others. Notably, he founded the Seattle Atomic, arguably the most successful D-Division team that participated in the ECSA. For eight seasons, he served on the boards of all the cities he has played in, a reflection of his passion to the game. In 2008, he served as an Events Committee member for Seattle’s hosting of the GSWS. Currently, he is the league’s membership director, and he aspires to be as successful as all the others that came before him by modeling their examples of service. Additionally, in 2017 he was instrumental in bringing the GSWS to Portland by serving on the bid committee, convincing NAGAAA to award it to Portland over two other competitive locations. In terms of service, he has contributed to our league and others at the highest level.
In every city in which he has played, he has been a member and/or manager of a division winning team. In tournaments, he has played on six teams that have won trophies including the Seattle Torrents, Seattle Atomic, Seattle Avengers, Portland Reign and Seattle Sinners.
He has also achieved something that many of us dream of doing while we play in a NAGAAA league, he played with a GSWS Champion, the Seattle Atomic. The following year, he returned to the NAGAAA stage with the Seattle Avengers, which finished in second place. It is electrifying to win a tournament but is something special to win GSWS and then return to defend for that title with another team.
There are some players who are honored purely for playing, and that is exceptional. There are others that are honored for their commitment to make softball available for anyone that wants to play it, regardless of their skill level or ability. Holden thrives in the latter category. While being a competitive player, he understands that we would not have a league with people to play. As I stated previously, he is an ambassador for the league. I don’t think we set out with that in mind during our first or second season, and maybe later into our softball adventures. It happens because we have a joy in playing and making it available for others. It is an organic process that happens as we continue to find enjoyment and satisfaction in something that contributes greatly to our lives. That is his commitment. I encourage you to include Holden into the ECSA Hall of Fame.