What a Saturday
I've blogged about baseball a bunch. My guess is that even after I'm finished with tonight's post, I'm not going to be finished blogging about baseball either.
This weekend was West Side's opening day. It's a big deal in Hamilton. They welcomed back the 11 year old state championship team. They welcomed back the 12 year old state championship team...and the oldest got his name announced and got to walk around the park like a big shot...again.
Mr. Red was there. The Miami Redhawk was there. It was a little chilly, but it was sunny and pretty and a great day for baseball. It was good to hang out at the park a bit and not care about who won or who lost because my kid wasn't playing - for the first time in 8 years.
But that wasn't the best part. The best part takes a bit of explaining.
Last July, in the middle of All Stars, one of the moms had a baseball with her and asked me to have the oldest sign it. All the boys on the team were signing it, she explained, for a little boy who had just been diagnosed with Lymphoma on her younger son's baseball team. The little guy was in for the fight of his life and had asked if the All Stars would sign a baseball for him to take to the hospital with him when he had his stem cell transplant. With my heart in my throat, I said that of course he could do that...and had my son sign the ball. I reminded the oldest how lucky he was...
Then one day this past fall, my daughter was all up in arms about finding as much of her Bengals swag as possible because she wanted to wear it to school and gave me a permission slip. Her principal was planning a surprise visit to one of her school mate's homes. It was the same little guy who had been diagnosed with Lymphoma in the middle of the summer. He was fighting the chemo pretty hard and was having some rough days. My daugher's principal felt he had to do something to lift the kid's spirits so he convinced the whole school to dress in Bengals apparrel, got "Who Dey" to show up and got a football signed by Carson Palmer to be taken to the kid's house in the middle of the day. The kids were out in force, as the embedded video shows, and everyone felt like maybe they had helped the kid through his day.
I hadn't heard much about the little guy till Saturday afternoon. After they announced the state championship teams, after the little league pledge had been read, after the singing of the national anthem and the raising of the flag, the ceremonial first pitch had to be thrown.
And who was on the mound, in full uniform because his cancer is in remission? Yep...that same little guy who was diagnosed less than a year ago.
He's back at school now and waiting the 5 years necessary for his cancer to stay away so he can be placed on the "cured" list. The good people at west side also decided to rename Field 1 after the little guy for this season. He's got a sign up and everything.
It's not often that I get that big of an incentive to keep working for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and I'd probably keep working on the campaign regardless of the events of this past Saturday...but it was pretty incredible to know I'm part of a school that's contributed so much time, energy, talent and money to this remarkable organization.
And it renewed my commitment to keep fighting...to stay relentless for the cure.