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Farewell does not mean goodbye...

Good afternoon,

I hope this message finds you well.

After spending 13 years facilitating fun for you, I am stepping away from Game On! Sports.

It is a sad day, yet it is also a rewarding day.

Game On! is something that I built from nothing. As most ventures often do, it started with an idea while talking among friends. That idea morphed into a single Spring football league, in 2008. Since then, Game On! has grown to be one of the most recognized and respected social sports organizations in WNY. A year-round operation that has activated over 15 different sports in multiple league and tournament formats. Plus, dozens of special events and activities, along the way. Game On! has become an organization that is trusted to manage the sports activities of some large, local, private companies. It is also an organization that has been able to donate tens of thousands of dollars to local charitable organizations over the years. Donations that I would not have been able to make, personally, if Game On! had not existed.

The goal has always been to provide an outlet for people to get together over a commonality of sport; and to use sport to build lasting, lifelong friendships in the process. Reflecting on the tens of thousands of people's lives I have touched; I can proudly say I have succeeded in my mission. There have been countless relationships (friendly, personal, business and even romantic) that have started because of Game On! Some of those relationships have blossomed into families with children. Children who, hopefully, become future members of Game On!.

It was not always easy. In fact, it was rarely easy. There were many times where I thought, "What am I doing", "Is it really worth all of this hassle and headache", "I should just throw in the towel. After all, I have a day job". These same questions, and many others, are ones that small business owners ask themselves as they are trying to chase their dreams and create their vision.

But I kept going. I persevered because of you and the support you have given me. The loyal Game On! players and participants. It was your many thoughtful comments and expressions of gratitude, both in person and over email, that would bring a smile to my face and joy to my heart. Something as simple as, "Joe, thank you for doing this." was enough to keep me going. There were also many comments about how much fun people had, and how much they appreciated a well-organized league. Even some, whose work or family have taken them out of the area, commented how much they will miss Game On! To all of you: Thank you! Thank you for taking a chance on Game On! Thank you for taking a chance on me!

I've been writing in the first person. However, I certainly did not do this alone. No one person can create something, as successful as Game On!, without help.

I have been extremely fortunate to be able to surround myself with good, no, great people, this entire trip. Personal friends who became trusted advisors and consultants. Vendors, suppliers, and sponsors who were more than just that; they were true business partners. They understood our vision and wanted to help us achieve that vision. Thank you for your years of help, guidance, and support.

A special thank you to those in the stripes. The referees, umpires and game officials who have one of the most conflicted jobs out there. They are always right, and always wrong, both at the same time. Thank you for your tireless efforts to help make Game On! a success.

Most important, however, has been the Game On! Team. I had a Team of people with me the entire way. The Team has varied in size over the years. Sometimes just 2 of us. Sometimes up to 10 of us. Most often, somewhere in between.

It was never a difficult decision to recruit any of my Teammates. They have always been eager, enthusiastic, and of strong character. Many times, it was they who approached me, looking for ways to help. It is a testament to what Game On! has become, considering so many have offered their services without even being asked.

While the Team looked to me for leadership and guidance, I feel this Team has taught me much more than I have taught them. They have helped me to better understand my limitations and weaknesses. However, they have also helped to build me up, and open my eyes to things I may not have thought possible. I have grown, as a person, because of my Team.

I have had many great times with this Team. In many ways, we are like a family. We laugh, we have disagreements. In fact, many of our meetings were at my dining room table, just like a family. I have often referred to this Team as my Game On! Family. They will always be Family to me.

We have all come together at different stages in our lives. We have all grown together. Unfortunately, there comes a time when we must part ways. I had hoped it would be many more years before I had to write something like this. However, my time is now. As many of you know, Game On! was not my only career. My primary career has also been growing. I have been given more responsibilities in that arena. Eventually, you just run out of time in the day. Unfortunately, I had to make a very difficult decision to leave Game On!.

Rest assured, this is not the end of Game On!. Remember that Team I was talking about? Over the years, I have invested in them, watched them grow and become as committed to the success of Game On! as I have been over the years. They have an unbridled passion to take Game On! to new limits. Combined, this Team has over 20 years of Game On! service. I am so very proud of this Team and look forward to their continued success.

I leave you in great hands. Many of you know Marty, Tim, Brandon, and Tom. For years, they have been constant, stable figures of Game On!. They have been personally invested in the integrity and growth of Game On! I trust that you will show them the same love, respect, and professionalism you have shown me with over the years.

It is also not the last of me. I will still be around, playing in the leagues, maybe even officiating a game or two. I look forward to still seeing everyone competing on the field and growing relationships off the field.

Before I sign off, I must thank one last person, well two, really. My wife, Sue, and my daughter, Genevieve. Sue has been with me from the very beginning. We started dating, just as the idea of Game On! was forming. She was there, with me, lining the fields, for our very first season of play. She has been my partner in both life and Game On!, ever since. Game On! has been a big part of Genevieve's life, since she was born. She has helped with field lining/setup/takedown, sorting uniforms, checking on field conditions, even throwing a few penalty flags. She is just as sad as I am, with this news. I look forward to the day where she will be old enough to play in Game On! and share in the same experiences all of us have had. Maybe, if I am lucky, I'll even get to play on the same team as her.

Thank you for playing with us! Thank you for choosing Game On!

Joe G, Founder, Game On! Sports, Inc.

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