Penn Moore hit a baseball as hard as it could be hit on a line to Siegel’s left fielder. When ball met leather on that clear, cool spring night, the game was over. The season had ended. And, a group of young men who had played the game since they were little boys realized the end had come, not only to their season, but to their childhood, as well.
They are resilient, though. They have dreams and plans and families that will see them through. This night will be a distant memory one day, but the bond that developed over these years between teammates and competitors will stand the test of time and will be remembered forever.
They are brothers. All of them.
Games between schools can get, well, too competitive and turn into an ugliness that isn’t part of the game. I’ve witnessed it, and even been part of it. It’s not a thing you want to tuck neatly away into your memory to be remembered. That’s why these boys are so special, so unique. At the end of the game, all of them – whether they competed for a position on the same team, or competed across the diamond – have realized the one thing that matters above all. It is the friendship and bond between brothers who have been in a baseball battle with and against each other. The dirt and sweat and blood seals it as though it is a pact made between warriors.
There is honor, not in the winning or losing, but in the competition. From that honor is borne respect and admiration. And, from that, love.
You will do well. All of you.
You know what it takes to compete. And, you know that, at the end of the game, there is honor among those who have played and played well. Whether your colors are the same or different, remember these years, these days. You are among those who know the joy and the pain of the game, and it will serve you well in the years ahead.
So, today, I honor all of you, especially the ones who have left a baseball-seam print on my soul. I’ve coached many of you since you were little boys, and I’ve watched others of you with special interest and respect for the way you not only played the game, but for the way you carried yourselves away from the game. Over this fleeting time, you’ve grown into young men along with the diamonds you’ve played on. I’ve watched you compete and struggle and win and succeed and fight with a determination that is learned from the discipline of making yourself a better teammate and a worthy opponent.
I am proud of all of you. And, I thank you for making my life richer for having been part of my life. You have endured an old man, who once played the game with passion, work to teach you more than just the mechanics of the game. The real lesson here is that life is the game. There may be strike outs, and there may be home runs, but there is purpose in competing to be your best and doing it with those you love.
So, to the Brotherhood, it is with deep and abiding honor and love that I say thank you. #family
Sebastian Lynn – Rhett Stacey – Alex Ward – Dalton Smith – Penn Moore – Peyton Motroni – Demery Freeman – Justin Wilson – Bob Givens – Tyler Gilbert – Brice Bogle – Nathan Richardson – Will Hawks – Cody Choate – Blake Howland – Nolan Pearson – Devin Cairo – Grant Hawkins – T.J. Tate – Joey Ligon – Cameron Arms – Cameron Newman – Grayson Preston – Chase Smith – David Newman – Brandon Baker
Blake Benefield – Johnny Rodgers – Nick Kristinus – Carson Lester – Connor Moss – Drew Kincaid – Chandler Coley – Luke Herndon
Drew Huff – Brady Puckett