I almost hit a home run at Grant Beach Park. I barreled the ball, sending it deep to left field and started sprinting toward first base. The ball hit the top of the chain-link fence and ricocheted directly back to the left fielder. I was lucky to make it in to third base safely.
“I thought that was gone,” my third base coach told me as I was catching my breath.
“I did, too.”
That is my one baseball memory at Grant Beach.
Jacob’s best day in baseball came on this field.
“It was the second game of the season. I hit the ball and it hit the back corner of the fence. It wasn’t an over-the-fence home run, but I still was able to round all the bases and make it an inside-the-park home run.”
Jacob has big dreams for the field at Grant Beach.
“I want to preserve my memories and make it possible for kids to make their own memories here,” he said.
Jacob is 14 and will be a freshman at Central High School. “For about a year and a half, I’ve been working toward this day, toward this project.”
Jacob is diligently working toward the rank of Eagle Scout. “I know it sounds big, but I want to raise $30,000 to improve this field, so kids have a good place to play baseball and their parents can watch.”
Jacob wants to make this field a place where kids can grow to learn and love the game.
The “dugouts” are just metal benches next to the bleachers and uncovered. There is no place to store any baseball equipment or quiet places where a coach could console the kid who just struck out and wants to be ignored by the world.
The bleachers are old, wooden, and relatively rotted. There are no shade structures and no nearby water fountains.
Jacob has done his research, too, meeting with the park board and getting estimates of supplies and construction costs.
“I woke up before 6 this morning. There was still so much work to do for today.”
From 10 – 1, Jacob is organizing a fundraiser at Grant Beach as part of his Eagle Scout project.
I was delighted to learn that Jacob is a Royals fan. I was surprised to learn that he has Chiefs aspirations.
“I’d love to play in the NFL — defensive tackle. Or be an anesthesiologist.”
He’s already practicing for the Central team, a school that hasn’t won a game the last two seasons. Maybe his presence on the team will make a difference during Kaylea’s senior year.
On a beautifully cool summer morning with a gentle breeze, Jacob and I spread out on the outfield grass while dozens of volunteers organized tables and auction items. We laughed and encouraged one another. Of course, he’s nervous about today, but also excited about the potential.
“This was a fun place for me and my friends to play ball. I’d love for more kids to have that chance.”
To donate toward Jacob’s project, visit his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/events/2042565206062170/) or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.