By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications
Colorado Springs has many institutions, such as Seven Falls, Garden of the Gods, Cave of the Winds, the United States Air Force Academy, and of course Pike’s Peak. But MSBLhas ties to another institution who demonstrates tremendous impact both on and off the field; Norm Churchill of the MSBL of Southern Colorado.
Norm is a 65-year-old ex-professional pitcher who was drafted out of Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Florida in 1977 in the fourth round by the Cleveland Indians, and ultimately traded to the Cubbies, where he advanced to AAA and exited his professional baseball life in 1982.
Below is an excerpt from an introduction by League President Bud Maison, when asked by MSBL Founder and President Steve Sigler to provide the name of an impact member in the league as part of our 35-year anniversary salute to our members.
“The MSBL of Southern Colorado recognizes Norman Churchill for his efforts as the MSBL (50+) conference Vice President and a player in two divisions of baseball.
His service to the league as an executive committee member led to facilitating the MSBL rule review and update for the 2023 season and facilitated a structure realignment that improved the outcome of league play. His performance on the field as a player, and one of the more senior players in the league, has enhanced his team’s capability by hitting .667 with a 2.73 ERA.
He mentors players to be successful young men while building their baseball acumen. He was an owner of the Colorado Springs Outlaws, a summer collegiate baseball team in the Rocky Mountain Baseball League, for six years that provided current, or signed, collegiate baseball players the opportunity to pursue their destiny in the game of baseball. His impact outside the league exceeds what is expected as a MSBL player and administrator.” Bud Maison
“I decided that minor league ball wasn’t a real lifestyle,” explained Norm. “I joined the Air Force in 1983, received my commission in 1991, and spent a total of 20 years in the military. I retired from the Air Force in 2003 and focused on my telecommunications career and coaching my son. I have been coaching ever since.”
Below is an excerpt from Norm’s profile page currently posted on the Children of Destiny Foundation website, where Norm is the Founding Member, President, and CEO. We will fill you in shortly about Norm’s mission statement and goals within the foundation, but here is more detail profiling Norm the person.
“Aside from Norm’s professional, military, and civil service careers, he has coached high school and college-level baseball in Colorado Springs for the last 11 years. He was an assistant head coach at Rampart HS for 4 years (2012-2015), the pitching coach at Pine Creek HS for 3 years (2017-2019), Discovery Canyon HS for 1 year (2021), and an assistant coach for the Colorado Springs Mountain fall high-school baseball program for 9 years (2014-2022). He returned to Pine Creek HS in 2022 where he is currently the pitching coach. He also has coached a team at the summer collegiate level for the past 5 years in the Mile High Collegiate Baseball League and the Rocky Mountain Baseball League.
Amazingly, Norm’s talent on the field laid dormant outside of the coaching ranks. A few years back he heard about a Colorado league for adults in the area and he decided to see what it was all about. That was in 2019, as he was over 60 years old before getting back into the game!
The MSBL of Southern Colorado welcomed him in the 45-older division, where he currently plays for the Grizzlies in the top division, and as with any talented pitcher, word gets out quickly about a lefty who can still hit the mid-70s on the gun. The MSBL World Series brotherhood immediately came calling and Norm ventured south to Arizona in 2020 with the Colorado Buffaloes for his inauguration into the top competitive adult baseball tournament around.
As happens in these situations, other national teams took notice. That was the case with Norm, as he was noticed by none other than the national powerhouse San Antonio Lonestars.
“Bill Rector and I talked and he wanted me to join the Lonestars. I was honored, so last year (2022) I played with them and we won the 60-over ring in the National Division! It was a great experience to play against guys my own age, and also against the best competition there. I look forward to getting back down this October to play for Bob Sherwin in the 65s with the LA Athletics. I am also thrilled to be playing for San Jose in the Father/Son division with my 26-year-old son. This is going to be a special year.”
Norm’s baseball achievements on the field and as a coach are worthy of an entire story but Norm the person deserves some space so as promised, let’s switch gears a little. When Norm and I hooked up, I was aware of some of his accomplishments but I needed to know more about his work and passion with his non-profit. My first question to him was ‘Tell me about the Children of Destiny Foundation?’
“Joe Pacheco is my business partner and we own a summer baseball team together,” said Norm. “Joe had the original vision for the foundation while coming from a very small town in New Mexico. He thought about this in the early 2000s to help people who didn’t have the means to go to college and needed to achieve their destiny.
We decided that we needed to discuss destiny as opposed to fate, including sports. Our goal is to help kids achieve their dreams of education and sports success. Our intent is to never take a dime for our efforts as we utilize 90% of all donations and will never allow administrative expenses to exceed 10%. I haven’t received a dime and never intend to.”
Norm is retiring sometime in 2023 and will embrace his work with the Foundation on a full-time basis thereafter. Joe and Norm set everything in motion last year and were set to kick off this spring but Joe developed medical complications so everything was put on hold. They are now scheduling a re-launch in September or October of this year.
“We are very excited to get the Children of Destiny Foundation in front of people so that we can begin our mission. So many kids out there would otherwise miss a chance to fulfill their dreams. Maybe we can make a difference.”
Norm’s baseball career was sidetracked by rotator cuff surgery in 1985, at least as a professional. His coaching and current playing ability substantiate that he can still bring it.
“I have many wonderful memories from my days with the Cubs when I made the 40-man roster in 1980, 1981, and 1982. I spent spring training in Mesa with Billy Williams and Ernie Banks as coaches and watched the emergence of Bruce Sutter’s split-finger. It was an amazing journey for a young guy and one I’ll never forget.”
My final question was about exploring his MSBL career was by asking what he felt was the best thing about the MSBL of Southern Colorado.
“The commitment of literally every single guy and every team in making it the best league it can be. It’s easy to be an administrator when people have that mindset. It is an honor to be a part of a group like that at the over-45 level. They are all good citizens that go out and play hard, compete, and respect the game. The league, the managers, and all players share that compassion top to bottom.”
Here is the website link to learn more about Norm and Joe’s Children of Destiny Foundation: https://thechildrenofdestinyfoundation.org/