Loyalty, Inclusion, Family, Pride

Bearfight FC's Jeremy Sharpe's tribute to Eric Shertz.

'Loyalty, Inclusion, Family, Pride'.

This was the mission statement of Bearfight FC the day the club was conceived by four people at a booth at Stoney's British Pub in Wilmington. I'm sure a fly on the wall would not have looked at myself, Justin Lee, Mark Dunfee, and Eric Shertz and thought we could pull it off.

Eric's first thoughts on having a month to register, find a league, find players, and play our first match was, 'You're f**kin' crazy.' As always, he was smiling as he said it. I often wonder if he said that on purpose to see if we could pull it off.

From that day forward, we worked tirelessly, skipping sleep, meals, and nights out to put this together.

'Loyalty, Inclusion, Family, Pride'.

Family. Everyone defines family differently. Is it only the people with whom you share genetics? Does it include the people related to a husband or wife? Can it be a group of strangers that start spending Saturdays together watching soccer?

I am not qualified to give a definitive answer. I am qualified to say this.

Eric Shertz is the definition of family.

Eric's obituary was hanging in Stoney's last night, and it listed him as co-founder and business manager of Bearfight FC. Although factually correct, Eric was more than that to this club, this Bearfight family.

Eric welcomed everyone with a smile. That smile was just as warm and welcoming from Eric if he had known you for years or was meeting you for the first time. He made you feel at home. Eric was a constant ambassador for this club in every aspect of operation.

When there was a league meeting to attend, Eric would be the first to volunteer to go. When the USASA, the USOC, or a league rep needed to be contacted, Eric would do it. When players first arrived to play for FC, Eric will welcome them. On match day, Eric would smile and say hello to everyone that was there to watch us. When Justin or I would get too hyped up, Eric would calm us back down. And through it all, Eric did it with a smile. There was not a single part of Bearfight FC that Eric did not have involvement in.

Bearfight FC didn't just lose a business manager. It didn't just lose a co-founder. We lost a family member. We lost the soul of FC. There are many people qualified to sit in league meetings, write emails, and process paperwork, but there is no one that can replace Eric Shertz. All four of us gave this club a name, the players gave it a heart, Coach Kammergaard is giving this club the proper education, but Eric gave it a soul.

No one embodies the mission statement of, 'Loyalty, Inclusion, Family, Pride' than Eric.

As we honor Eric's memory, we should try to carry the values that are the true nature of Eric with us every day...

A warm, welcoming smile to everyone.

An effort to make sure everyone gets a say.

Enthusiasm in everything you do.

'Loyalty, Inclusion, Family, Pride'.

'I know any time I'm here, I'm with my family.' -Eric Shertz

Rest easy, Brother.

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