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A happy 50th for Costa Mesa youth

Youth Scene

Costa Mesa celebrates with festive anniversary celebration, featuring Leinart and Perkins, at Jim Scott Stadium.

August 17, 2013|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza
  • J.R. Mendez, center, carries the ball for the Costa Mesa Pop Warner Eagles of the Mighty Mites Division during a scrimmage against Upland at Jim Scott Stadium on Saturday.
J.R. Mendez, center, carries the ball for the Costa Mesa… (KEVIN CHANG, Daily…)

COSTA MESA — An 85-year-old man made his way down to the football field at Jim Scott Stadium on Saturday morning. Everyone involved with Costa Mesa Pop Warner seemed to know him.

People referred to him as "Mr. Pop Warner."

Ed Baume is his real name and he has been involved with Costa Mesa Pop Warner for almost as long as it has existed.

Saturday's event meant a lot to Baume. The first games are two weeks away, yet Costa Mesa Pop Warner held a special ceremony.

When the ceremony ran a little behind schedule, people stopped Baume and asked him, "What time are you going to start?"

Others needed help with the football equipment some of the kids wore.

"This doesn't fit. That doesn't fit," Baume said of the complaints he heard, before he responded with, "This is not the day to tell me equipment doesn't fit."

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The day belonged to Costa Mesa Pop Warner and its 50th anniversary celebration.

For 46 of those years, Baume has held a variety of titles with the organization. Baume, now the director of football, wasn't too worried about things not running on time on Saturday.

The wait turned out to be worth it for the players, coaches, families, former players and coaches, and supporters of Costa Mesa Pop Warner in attendance.

Near the sideline, a Heisman Trophy winner stood underneath a canopy. Once the players ran onto the field in their helmets, uniforms and cleats, they saw Matt Leinart, the former USC star quarterback.

"It is an honor to be back here," Leinart said. "I was just out here a couple of weeks ago. It is always, always great for me and my family to come back where it all started and where we grew up."

Leinart went to St. John the Baptist Catholic School in Costa Mesa, before he attended Mater Dei in Santa Ana.

He told the kids on the field that he was in their shoes 20 years ago, playing his favorite sport. Then he offered them valuable advice.

"There [have] been two constant things in my life that have always remained with me through the ups and downs," Leinart said. "I've always had a family that has always been there for me, no matter what. Family is always going to be important. [Family is] always going to be with you.

"No. 2 is something that's very important and that I live by. Always remember where you came from."

Leinart likes to give back to the community. He has the time right now as an NFL free agent.

While he waits for an NFL team to call, Leinart, 30, passed on more advice to the players, ranging from ages 7 to 14.

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