by Brian Manning
WALSENBURG — Dave Manzanares works full time – as a volunteer. He was offered a job as the coordinator of softball and volleyball in Walsenburg and accepted, but he declined the salary thinking the money would be better used to purchase equipment and help pay registration fees. That was in 1983 and he hasn’t slowed down since.
As the coordinator of softball, he manages 14 teams, seven men and seven women. They are age 14 to adult, 210 players in total. They play from the first week of June to mid-August; a total of 18 games with a tournament of 13 games at the end of the season.
Manzanares is responsible for hiring the umpires, making the schedules, and meeting with the team captains to establish rules. He even drags the fields and paints the lines.
When he played ball, the fields were in much worse condition so that once when he picked up a ground ball, he got four goatheads in his hand and could not throw to home plate. He is proud of the good condition the fields are in today. He said the support of the county is what makes this program possible.
When the softball season is over, he begins to organize the volleyball leagues with the season running from October to April. There are 30 teams with 240 players. He coordinates the teams and makes the schedules.
These games are held in the community center and the teams are responsible for refereeing their own games.
In addition to these volunteer activities, Dave also holds the chain markers for the John Mall football team and has been doing this for 37 years. He loves football and is a diehard Broncos fan. He is also a 22-year member of the John Mall Booster Club.
When he was in school, he was not chosen for any teams because of his size, so while in the 8th grade, he started an intramural basketball league which they called the midget league.
When not volunteering, he spends time with his family and loves to celebrate holidays with them. Manzanares worked for Sporleder Feeds for 26 years and is now retired. He is married and has three grown daughters, one of whom announces at the softball games. Dave Manzanares is an example of a true volunteer who works hard for his community and for the love of sports.