To the Editor:
I like Larry Gilbert a lot. He has been a great mayor and an excellent advocate for Lewiston. He has done a lot for our city, and I am proud to call him my friend.
Larry has also been a good friend and staunch supporter of the Lewiston MAINEiacs. He, as well as I, advocated for the team to come to Lewiston. Both of us bought season tickets in advance of their arrival to show our support for the move, and both of us have been season-ticket holders since day one. We have also expressed our loyalty to the team in many other ways.
In terms of economics, Lewiston has certainly incurred some costs by adopting the MAINEiacs as our hometown team, but Lewiston and the surrounding communities have also realized considerable income from this initial investment. Among other benefits to Lewiston-Auburn, fans in ever-increasing numbers are coming to the games—some staying in local hotels, some eating in local restaurants and many becoming more aware of all the positive things that Lewiston-Auburn has to offer.
However, as a long-time supporter of the MAINEiacs, I agree with Larry that it has not always been an easy relationship. We welcomed these talented young men and their leadership with open arms to our community. Yet, more than once, I was afraid that this part of our extended family might walk out on us and that Lewiston might lose its only professional hometown team.
Above and beyond that, there have been times when I, like Larry, have felt under-appreciated by a team to whom I had been so loyal. But, then again, doesn’t every relationship have its ups and downs?
The fact is that I also think the world of Bill Schurman, the MAINEiacs president. No one has tried harder than Bill to make Lewiston-Auburn and the MAINEiacs’ fans feel appreciated.
Thanks to Bill’s efforts, the MAINEiacs seem to be everywhere. One of their first activities after arriving for pre-season training was to right the tombstones in a local cemetery that had been vandalized. That event has been followed by many other generous acts, including supporting local teams, reading to our schoolchildren, helping to raise money for community organizations and charities, attending civic events and even giving blood!
Bill, himself, has gone out of his way to show his appreciation for the fans. He’s there at the door to welcome people as they arrive for each game, and he’s there at the end of each game to thank everyone for coming.
It really bothers me to have two people who I greatly like and respect at odds with one another. I don’t remember what Bill said in the article that upset Larry so much. I know I read the article, but it did not strike me as being offensive.
Even if it could be interpreted or misinterpreted that way, I am sure that it was unintentional. At most, I consider it to be a misunderstanding among members of an extended family.
That said, I look forward to seeing our mayor, my friend and a friend of the Lewiston MAINEiacs, and his wife back in their usual seats cheering on our team as they finish out a great season this year and launch into an even more successful season next year.
I also look forward to seeing our team president, my friend and a friend of Lewiston-Auburn, celebrating our shared community with our mayor over a beer at Gippers or a cup of coffee at Simones. Lewiston-Auburn and the Lewiston MAINEiacs have a lot to offer one another.
And, when all is said and done, we are family!
District 3 (Lewiston)