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Bulletin

Special Interest Honorable Michael G. Graffeo GAVELS FINALLY!! beat SHARKS … Although it occurred last September 7th, but with MLB pitchers and catchers reporting by the time you read this article, it’s appropriate our Bar should know of the tremendous softball victory our local judiciary (the “GAVELS”) enjoyed over a team of local attorneys (the “SHARKS”). For the last 9 years, on the second Friday in May, the Solo/Small Firm Section of the Birmingham Bar Association has challenged our Judges and staff to a softball game played at historic Rickwood Field, the oldest existing baseball stadium in the country where major league baseball (exhibition games) were played. This year’s May game was preempted by filming of the movie “42,” the Jackie Robinson story to be released in April. In past years, prior to the game, the Solo/Small Firm Section provided an hour of accredited CLE, usually in sports and entertainment law presented by notable attorneys practicing in that area. At the conclusion of every game from May, 2004, to last September, the Section lays out a great barbeque (cooked on site), picnic with sides, desserts, and, of course, various cold beverages desperately needed to rehydrate tired softball players, some already experiencing sore leg muscles from running Rickwood’s regulation ninety foot base paths. The Section also provided some great door prizes, won by several GAVELS. Undoubtedly enjoyed most of all was the quality “out of the courtroom” time between GAVELS and SHARKS. In 2011 the annual game was renamed the “Judge Tennant Smallwood Memorial Softball Game” in honor of our beloved friend. Judge Smallwood passed away April 30, 2011, just days before the annual GAVELS v. SHARKS game. From the very first game in May, 2004, Judge Smallwood was the “player/manager” of the GAVELS, pitching most of every game. His high arching, slow falling, on target pitching was a joy to behold and embarrassed many a seasoned softball player over the years. The 2012 Smallwood Memorial Softball Game will undoubtedly go down in the annals of Birmingham’s rich softball tradition as one of the greatest ever played. The afternoon game was played under sweltering heat and humidity from the morning’s hard rain. For the first time ever, despite the SHARKS’ normal practice of loading their team with “ringers” and assuming their usual victory, (some probably humming Springsteen’s “Glory Days” to themselves), the GAVELS came from behind to defeat the SHARKS 5 to 2. The GAVELS played hard, with solid hitting and great plays in the field. We’re not sure who “managed” and “coached” the team to victory, but there is no doubt the GAVELS got exceptional play from every player on the field. Like every Judge, the GAVELS were backed by excellent staff members. Brandon Demyan (Judge Graffeo’s Law Clerk) pitched a good game, although his catcher, Judge Graffeo, caused undue game delay retrieving many pitches not caught. The infield was quick and sure handed, with Owen Blake (Judge Boohaker’s Law Clerk) Continued on page 32 30 Birmingham Bar Association


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