Field of Tears

Posted: August 4, 2015 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

It’s been a long while since I’ve written anything. I have had a massive case of writer’s block. It’s not as though I have been uninspired or there hasn’t been anything to write about. There definitely has been plenty. I suppose nothing in the sports world lately has given my head a reason to put words to paper. Until now – and I must warn those of you who read my stories looking for a good laugh, you’re not going to find one here. Instead I simply felt the need to pour my heart out and this is the way I have chosen to do so.
As I have said before, I grew up on a baseball field. Before I could walk I was crawling on one. When I was around 8 or 9 years old my dad allowed me to become the official “bat girl’ for his team. I don’t remember being all that excited, after all I spent the majority of my time in and around the dug out anyway. Little did I know the impact of this “title” would have on me for the remainder of my life. I learned more about the sport of baseball in the dugout as a bat girl than I did playing softball for several years. It was a hot, dirty, sometimes exhausting job but I loved every single minute of it and have forever memories that bring a smile to my face.
That smile has been erased this week as I read the stories of Kaiser Carlile. This cute, little, bespectacled boy was 9 years old, living the dream of many young kids when he tragically lost his life Sunday after being accidentally hit by a practice swing of a player on deck. This ripped at my heart as if I knew him. Perhaps I did – not Kaiser personally, but so many others like him. I was like him. I can’t seem to erase this beautiful from my mind. When his dad spoke about him Monday and said his son cared about everyone and had a love for the game I cried. Again.
One story said his mother was in the stands and saw it all. It is unimaginable and I hope and pray with all my heart it’s not true. The thought of this woman having to watch her child get hit, go down, stand up only to fall back down again and then his limp body being picked up by one of the players is almost unbearable for me. Even as I am writing this I am wondering why I am taking this tragedy so personally – why can’t I read just one article without my eyes filling with tears?
Is it motherly instinct? My love for the game of baseball? Maybe because I can remember how Kaiser felt being in the dug out with guys he looked up to and hoped to be like some day. Perhaps it’s knowing that something considered by many as America’s pastime innocently took a little boy way too soon just doing something he loved to do. There is no blame, it was purely accidental – a freakish, tragic accident. They haven’t even given the name of the player who was on deck. I hope it is never given. That young man has now and forever been scarred and my heart hurts for him as much as it does for Kaiser’s family.
I know now baseball leagues around the country will be contemplating the future of the bat boy/girl role. The national Baseball Congress – the league in which the Liberal Bee Jays play have decided there will be no more bat boys or girls for the remainder of their World Series. If you haven’t kept up with this story the Bee Jays are the team Kaiser loved being part of. I understand there will be changes – of course there will – but I really and truly hope the tradition isn’t taken away completely. I know in the majors there is an age rule, and I’m ok with that. The helmet rule is really a no brainer – and yes, Kaiser was wearing his at the time of the incident. I just hope this tragedy doesn’t diminish the role and dream of so many kids. Although I didn’t know him, I can’t help but believe Kaiser wouldn’t want that.

The Bee Jays felt the same way. After their little “spark plug” was taken away in an ambulance the team met on the field and decided Kaiser would want the game and tournament to go on. The opposing team and officials were willing to go along with whatever decision was made. That Saturday night, after 13 innings – the longest innings of these players’ lives I’m sure, they came out victorious. They did it for Kaiser. The next day the team won again. And again they did it for Kaiser. Sadly, following that game the team learned their little team-mate had not been so victorious.
Today is Tuesday and the team has a game. A big game. If they win they move on to the championship. As the players take the field they are playing for something much more than a trophy. They are wearing the initials KC and fans and players from the majors on down are doing the same. I even took a Sharpie and printed those very initials on my wrist. I wanted to be reminded of how blessed I truly am and now Kaiser will help remind me to count those blessings.
So tonight when the Liberal Bee Jays take the field I will be cheering for them. I’m confident I will not be alone. This team will take the field of dreams that has now turned into a field of tears and they will play their hearts out for Kaiser. I hope they feel all of our hearts on the field with them. Go Bee Jays. Do it for Kaiser.

Follow me:@soonerleesa

  1. Denise says:

    I saw this on the news last night…….his father was talking about him, and saying kids shouldn’t be afraid to be a bat boy/girl-that it was a freak accident. He said Kaiser was happy to be there. What a dad! Not everyone could be so generous and forgiving when they obviously have a broken heart. So sad for his family.

  2. justjilligan0724 says:

    Beautifully bittersweet Leesa – prayers for all!

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