Sunday, April 20, 2014

Our Angel in the Outfield.

Throughout Wyatt's life we've been blessed to meet and become friends with some truly kind and wonderful people. Along the way we've also had the unfortunate experience to meet a few of the opposite kind, as well. But, truly, the good has always outweighed the bad.

Back in the spring of 2011 we had a pretty ugly run in with a tai kwan do instructor whose ignorance was loudly present as he spoke about our son not being welcome in his class. He declared it in front of the entire gymnasium of children and their families. Pointing out Wyatt's illness, his limitations and his insecurities for all to see just as the class was beginning. Wyatt was different, he had tubes, and we were told that was not OK or welcome in this man's classroom. I still get worked up about it today. I won't forget the things he said to me or about my son that day. I can only hope my words or my son being there changed this one man's heart or opened his mind to see the possibilities in all children, even those with tubes and limitations. Though, I realize that sometimes we can't reach (or teach) everyone, no matter how hard we may try. But this experience led us all to much better things. Following this event, Wyatt went on to be included in his first little league team: the Padres. We shopped for a glove, cleats and uniform pants the afternoon before the first practice game. He was so excited! As we prepared, I laughed at ourselves when remembering his ophthalmologist instructing us to avoid all sports that involved a ball flying at his head. (Oops!) I didn't think he'd hit a ball pitched to him that day. To be honest, I was just hoping he'd see it enough to not get hit! But I was wrong - he hit the first ball thrown to him! Following and after being given the 'game ball' of his first game, I asked him "What did you think?" He responded, with a smile as big as it could be, "This was the best day EVER!" 

Last weekend, April 12th, 2014, was the OALL opening day. One of the most fun days of the baseball season. The four of us were there. We walked up the grass hill to the baseball field that is referred to as "the lower field." We watched as all the boys and girls ran onto the grass circling the bases as their teams were announced through the speakers, just as they do every year.

 {Opening day 2011}

This year, as the kids in uniform were lined around the field, with their families standing along the bordering fence, the four of us stood on the dirt in front of the dugout. Wyatt's coach, "Coach K," stood in front of us holding the microphone as he spoke to the crowd about our boy. He recalled how Wyatt became part of the team, watching him hit his first ball, how his tubes all twisted and tangled when he ran and the smile that he always had as he reached the next base. His coach remembered and shared a piece of Wyatt's life with everyone on Saturday morning. It meant so much to us to hear it all.

As Coach K finished speaking, two teams were asked to part in the outfield as a banner along the fence was revealed. It's hanging just below the score board and in honor of our boy. It reads "Our Angel in the Outfield Wyatt DeStephano" with his signature superhero logo in the middle. It's perfect! I imagine Wyatt was smiling so big that day. He would have felt so honored. It was quite an emotional morning for us to be there for opening day again. But it felt so good to remember Wyatt and the joy that baseball had given him the last few years.

Thank you for being there for Wyatt and our family, OALL (and Coach K)!

The last opening day ceremony that Wyatt attended:

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1 comment:

  1. What an incredible tribute to your amazing boy.