CJ Buckley Regatta hits another milestone year

Posted 8/3/23

This week marked the 20th annual CJ Buckley Regatta which took place on East Greenwich Bay. It’s always a fun event with a special meaning and 20 years of success is an amazing milestone that I …

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CJ Buckley Regatta hits another milestone year


This week marked the 20th annual CJ Buckley Regatta which took place on East Greenwich Bay. It’s always a fun event with a special meaning and 20 years of success is an amazing milestone that I was honored to cover.

The info on the regatta is reported in my story this week so for the specifics, give it a read. In short, CJ Buckley was a local teenage competitive sailor who passed away after a battle with brain cancer back in 2002. Since then, his parents and sailing friends have hosted this regatta each year which has grown into one of the largest junior regattas in the world.

Each year that I have been here, excluding 2020 due to the pandemic, I have covered the event. There is something quite peaceful and if I had to guess, I would attribute that feeling to a number of items. The community at the regatta is warm and welcoming, they are always excited to hit the water and enjoy the experience with everyone on board.

Keeping the greater cause in mind is also a big factor. The hundreds of people, between the sailors, volunteers, onlookers, are there to not only compete but are there to honor the memory of CJ and celebrate his love of the sport. There is not a competitive tension in the slightest, it’s one of the few competitive events that truly feels non-competitive. The battling boats are on the same side of the cause.

The regatta also hands out scholarships, hosts kids from across the country and around the world, introduces prospective college sailors to coaches. It provides an excellent service to the kids, so seeing the accommodations in place is impressive. That’s another takeaway each year … it’s hard not to feel inspired to see such a major event take place while considering how it started. A small team of friends and family just trying to piece together a small memorial regatta.

My son, Wesley, is 13 months old and has taught me far more about this world than I’ll ever be able to teach him. Before he was born, I was able to appreciate the love for CJ with my head but not totally with my heart. I knew how important he was to the people involved, I recognized that love, I was moved by it. Now that I have a child of my own, it completely changed my perspective of what love truly is and it made this event even more special as an outsider looking in. There is a vast difference between seeing something and feeling it.

This regatta is an annual source of love and inspiration. Being down there and interacting with everyone involved, including and especially Lucy and Carter Buckley, it is impossible to not feel warm. I am thrilled to see the regatta still going strong with no signs of slowing down.

It’s such an important event both in and out of the water and I am sure CJ looks forward to it more than anyone.

Now, I must admit, the GameChanger app for baseball and softball is both a blessing and a curse, and with a little more attention to detail, could be solely a blessing.

GC has become a valuable tool for these sports. At this point, most teams especially at the youth level use it to track their team information whether it is rosters, stats, schedules, you name it. When used properly it is an outstanding resource for people such as me that cover the team.

Here is the problem though … although it helps coaches and administrators be organized, it also causes some laziness. I can’t tell you how many times I have been referred to GC only to find partial information. Coaches will often say, “Everything you need will be on GC” but far too often it is not.

My job is to find the information, I understand that, but many teams no longer keep physical copies of rosters and whatnot since they use GC for filing. When a team includes all the necessary info on the app, it really makes my life so much easier. When it is incomplete information, well, now I am talking in circles.

Don’t get me wrong, the Little League coaches I interact with are always helpful and accommodating. My gripe here is just some of the inconsistency with GC. If you rely on, please, rely on it fully.

As for other sports, I wish that more would catch on because GC is capable of handling other games as well. The vast majority of teams come from baseball and softball at the moment, but I feel like this could be such an awesome tool if other sports embraced it.

So, GC is fantastic, I am a fan, but let’s be thorough when using it, shall we?

pitch, sports, column


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