BURBANK — Douglas Howe hasn’t forgotten the times when he and his two brothers would flock to a local park more than 40 years ago as children to avidly take part in recreational sports. No matter the season, the trio would take advantage of the opportunities to play flag football, basketball, baseball and other sports.
As Howe aged, he continued to play various sports. He also believed it was his turn to give back to the next generation of youth, serving as a scorekeeper and umpiring games. The times of keeping score of an event or calling a ball or strike by Howe while associated with the Burbank Park, Recreation and Community Services Department are now etched in stone.
“You learned about social skills, meeting new people and giving back something after having all of those opportunities,” said Howe, who was one of nine people inducted into the Burbank Athletics Walk of Fame on Saturday at Olive Park. “Nobody gets involved with recreational sports because of a name and a brick.”
On Saturday, Howe, Cindy Dyer, Dennis Roy, Robin Smola Schwer, Terry Scott, Chuck Siedschlag, Tonie Siedschlag, Elise Stearns-Niesen and Jess Talamantes were recognized. The Walk of Fame was established to acknowledge the contributions of athletes, coaches, volunteers and staff members who have shown dedication and commitment to the department.
Each inductee had their name etched into their own brick — a few feet behind the backstop at Bill Burton Field. Sixty-three participants have been recognized since the event was established in 2004.
Dyer started playing youth sports in 1973, first enrolling in the Burbank Ponytail softball program. She’s since moved on to coach several recreational softball teams.
Dyer said she was shocked after finding out that she would be inducted.
“It hasn’t come full circle,” Dyer said. “It’s more of an unexpected part of the journey.
“It makes all the hours spent playing and coaching worthwhile. It’s great to be a part of this, and we have a place that offers great programs for the kids.”
Talamantes, a former mayor of Burbank and now a council member, said he immediately learned about the value of recreational sports while playing for his Hap Minor baseball program in the fifth grade.
Talamantes also competed at Civitan Day, twice winning the base-running competition.
“You just had a great time doing different things from running the bases to a throwing-distance event,” said Talamantes, who served on the Park, Recreation and Community Services board from 2001-09. “You are proud of what you’ve accomplished helping the past athletes and also helping the future athletes.”
Roy, who grew up in Glendale after moving from Massachusetts, became involved with recreational sports in 1982. He coached baseball and softball and is an umpire. Roy also serves on the Burbank Athletic Federation Board of Directors.
Schwer first became involved with recreational sports in 1972 while playing softball and swimming. She continues to play sports and has coached multiple sports.
Scott has been affiliated with sports in the Burbank area for about 60 years. He played football, baseball and basketball before advancing to participate in adult basketball and softball leagues. Scott worked for the Burbank Sports Office for more than 20 years and is a member of the Burbank Athletic Federation Board of Directors.
Chuck Siedschlag coached softball and helped stabilize the youth and adult teams in the area. Tonie Siedschlag, Chuck’s wife, served as a coach, manager and player in the youth and adult programs.
Stearns-Niesen began her run playing sports in 1974, taking part in softball in the Burbank Ponytail League. She continues to coach adult sports programs, something she started in 1981.