John McKay’s love of sports lasted throughout his lifetime. In high school, he began wrestling and was given the nickname “Worm” because of his ability to worm his way out of most holds. Unfortunately, that name stuck for many years. John loved fastball and played for both Amerock and Johnson’s Jewelers. At different points, John was a player, an umpire, a coach, a general manager, a tournament organizer, a statistician and always a fan.
Whether he was helping to run the annual Tom Simms Memorial Ball Tournament or rating the ball park French fries with fellow spectators, John tirelessly cheered on his favourite teams.
As a young man, John began coaching T-ball, softball and hockey. He was an excellent coach, known for his calm manner and ability to teach skills. Every player was treated fairly and was always shown respect. John knew the rules for fastball and hockey by heart and was referred to as a walking rulebook. His wealth of knowledge was generously shared and it was often called upon. It is a huge sign of respect that many hockey and ball players, who were coached by John, still called him “Coach” decades later.
When the Meaford Knights came into being 10 years ago, John was an enthusiastic fan. He introduced himself to every player, enjoyed talking to their parents, attended training camps, sold raffle tickets and cheered the team on. The McKay family Chuck A Puck has been a popular event at every home game. Each year the money raised is given to a local charity. This year, the money will go to The Living Wish Foundation.
Last year, the McKay Family Award was created and is given annually to the most dedicated player. This award reflects who John was as a person in all aspects of his life. John never sought recognition for the countless hours he spent at the arena or ball park. His legacy cannot be measured by the number of teams he coached, by the numbers of trophies won or by the many tournaments that he organized. It lies in the impact that John had on the players, parents and organization of Meaford sports.