By Sarah Freedman
Hudson – Throughout his youth, Brian Bowen played baseball and hockey, including hockey for one year at Fitchburg State University. Today, in addition to his job as a town assessor for Hudson, the lifelong resident of Hudson has continued to bat for youth sports.
Bowen first became involved in Hudson Youth Baseball as a coach for one of his son's T-ball teams in 1996. (His son Ryan will attend Framingham State University in the fall and his daughter, Shalyn, will graduate from Hudson High School in 2012.) Both of his children continue to play sports, and Bowen said that he has coached baseball and softball for his children's respective teams for 10 years in the Babe Ruth Baseball and Girls Senior leagues. He became more involved in the administrative part of the baseball organization serving as the director for Rookie Baseball, a program for 7- and 8-year-olds, from 1999 to 2001 and as treasurer from 2002 to 2003. One of his most important roles came afterward, when he served as president of Hudson Youth Baseball for five years from 2003 to 2008.
As president, he said his role was to oversee the operations of both the baseball and softball programs, which consisted of 600 players, 450 in baseball and 150 in softball.
In his tenure as president, Bowen enjoyed having the support of many dedicated volunteers whose work allowed him to focus on fund-raising and capital projects, such as the Sugar Shack concession building, to help keep the Youth Baseball program successful.
“The goal is to ensure that no child is left behind and is provided an opportunity to play regardless of skill or financial circumstances,” Bowen said.
He added the league allocates funds and develops rules that “provide our children with the best opportunity to not only succeed, but to have fun.”
His motto? “Just let the kids play.”
Bowen is currently the secretary of the Western Mass Cal Ripken Board and District 3 Commissioner in the Cal Ripken Baseball League, which has 28 programs south and west of Route 495 and encompasses the communities of Hudson, Marlborough, Ayer, Dunstable, Groton, Littleton, and Shirley. The Cal Ripken Baseball League is for players ages 5 to 12.
He works in the baseball program because he believes it is critical for children to get involved in some type of sporting activity.
“[It's important] not only from a physical development point of view,” he said, “but also to develop a sense of what it means to be part of a team.”
For Bowen, it is also about learning leadership by example. His father, Leonard Bowen Sr., was one of the founders of Hudson Youth Hockey in the 1960s and served as its first president.
“He also served on the Hudson Youth Baseball board as umpire-in-chief when we were growing up,” Bowen said. “I was blessed to have my dad, “La” Bowen, and great coaches and administrators in [Hudson Youth Baseball]. They were the teachers who provided the next generation the foundation to give back to the community.”
Bowen also continues to give back as a member of the Children's After School Programs (CHAPS) board and as the director of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) for the Triple Play Batting Cages, which is based in Clinton.
He said the AAU has six teams managed by the Triple Play Batting Cages in the 10u to 15u divisions, which refers to the ages of the players.
“AAU is a program developed to allow a child to play at a higher level beyond what may be provided by at the recreational level,” Bowen said. “My role is to organize tryouts, which occur in October, assist coaches with team selection, uniforms, schedules and umpires.”
He praised the volunteers of the program who give up their time and make the effort to not only spend time with their children, but who also have a positive effect on other youngsters.
“It is extremely satisfying to witness the development of children into fine young men and women,” he added. “They will someday carry on the legacy of Hudson sports.”