For the second consecutive January, I drove 450 miles north, across the Iowa border, almost all the way to South Dakota, all to celebrate a game of catch.
In 2022, I went as part of the Wanna Have a Catch? Opening Weekend ceremonies. Kevin Negaard’s Catch 365 attempt started in conjunction with his 60th birthday; his first game of catch was with his dad.
It was at that event where Kevin officially stated his audacious goal: To play catch, every single day for a year, and raise $100,000 for the Miracle League of Sioux City.
It was at that event where Kevin challenged Dustin, the founder of Ability Tech, to create a device so Dustin’s son, Kayden, could be one of Kevin’s catch partners.
It was at that event, watching hundreds of people come to The Arena, watching Kevin play catch again and again and again, that I knew I was witnessing the beginning of something special.
So, on Saturday morning, I left the comforts of Springfield, waved good-bye to Wallace the Whale, braved a snowstorm somewhere around St. Joseph, and, eight hours later, pulled into the parking lot of the Hard Rock Café of Sioux City right after the Chiefs scored their first touchdown.
Hosted in the Anthem Theater, the event was called, “The Final Catch.” The agenda looked like this:
While watching the Chiefs play on two enormous screens, before anyone else showed up, standing in the middle of the dance floor in front of an empty stage, Kevin and I played catch one more time. The webbing of his glove is tearing, the padding non-existent. His form was pure, his throws straight and true. No one could tell he had donated a kidney only six weeks earlier.
Kevin’s Catch 365 year is an incredible story of generosity and delight. Some of the notable highlights include:
*Playing catch with 2,148 people.
*Playing catch in 5 countries – USA, Canada, Tanzania, Netherlands, Israel.
*Playing catch and turning double plays with Ozzie Smith on the field at Busch Stadium.
*Playing catch with 2 Olympic Gold Medalists – Dan Gable and Leah Amico.
*Inspiring the invention of the W.H.A.C. – Wanna Have A Catch.
In between live music sets, Kevin addressed the crowd with lessons he learned over the course of the year.
God uses ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things.
Become a “Yes” person.
The simple things truly bring us the most joy.
He auctioned off the final game of catch and raised an additional $1600 towards his goal.
Kevin ended his catch-playing year raising $369,272.
More than $1,000 per day.
Money that will multiply miracles.
During our game of catch, I asked him what’s next.
“I’m going to Florida for some vacation and looking forward to my grandchildren being born this year.”
“Are you taking your gloves to Florida?”