The Herald Bulletin
---- — In 2000, when Nick Muller died in an auto accident, it was a personal tragedy for a large number of people who knew him personally and/or professionally.
What happened in the wake of that great loss was something wonderful, vital and heartwarming that will be celebrated beginning Wednesday on a pair of baseball diamonds in this county.
Former Herald Bulletin Sports Editor Tim Allen had an idea for a baseball tournament to honor the memory of Muller, who was a member of the Anderson High School baseball team and a part-time employee of the THB’s sports department. Since Muller was an organ donor, the idea was to use the tournament to not only remember Muller, but to draw attention to the need for organ donation.
AHS baseball coach Terry Turner leaped into action and has been the tournament’s strongest individual driving force through the entire history of its run. The Herald Bulletin is also proud to have been involved in publicizing and covering the event as well as the cause it represents.
Play in the tournament begins Wednesday afternoon at the Memorial Field and Bill Stoudt facilities. Forecasts for cold weather postponed the start of the tournament, originally set for today.
Also involved in this event has been the Indiana Organ Procurement Organization (IOPO). That group has attended the games, making available information at each site on organ donation. IOPO also sponsored a banquet that took place eight days after the championship game honoring the All-Tournament Team, the Most Valuable Player and a scholarship recipient.
Unfortunately, there are some troubling signs that perhaps the tournament, in its current form, is starting to crumble.
Nick’s parents, Bob and Kathy, who have been steadfast in support of this event both physically and emotionally, have moved away from the community to be closer to family members. Their presence in the time leading up to the event as well as after will be sorely missed.
In addition, IOPO has decided to discontinue its support for the post-tournament banquet. That removes one more chance to give the players and the cause some needed attention.
There is some disconnect among the county schools in all sports about continuing tournaments with all of the schools in the county included. The Nick Muller Tournament was never conceived as a county tournament but just slowly evolved into one.
It is our hope that the Muller Tournament will survive in one form or another for an extended period and that it will always stay true to the original purpose. But for now, it is time to go to the games this week and enjoy. It is what Nick would have wanted.
In summary The Nick Muller Memorial Tournament will be played this week, honoring the former THB staffer and calling attention to the need for organ donation. But the tournament is facing changes.