I messaged Kirk to let him know I was concerned about the surrounding storms and getting soaked playing catch. His two-word reply aptly summarizes our visit.
Kirk has a lifelong love of sports and competition. He greeted me at Fassnight Field with a custom Rawlings catcher’s mitt in one hand, a 2006 World Series Champions ring on the other, and wearing a beautifully blue Augusta National vest.
He last played catch with a baseball with his son, the quarterback at Kickapoo, a couple years ago. But they toss a football all the time.
“I love college football. Ohio Buckeyes are my team.”
His love for sports is seen throughout his career.
Kirk is currently the director for the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf tournament at Big Cedar Lodge. I mentioned something about the sinkhole which prompted Kirk to show me pictures and videos of the new Cathedral of Nature. Even on a phone, the views were stunning. His favorite story as director was officiating the wedding for Scott and Jennifer McCarron at the chapel, which sits next to the Cathedral.
“Their anniversary is right at tournament time. That’s pretty special to me.”
In the past he’s worked with the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame and the Price Cutter Charity Championship at Highland Springs. I used to caddie that tournament when it was part of the Ben Hogan tour. I still have the t-shirt with Billy Long’s name on the back.
Kirk worked in the front office for the Springfield Cardinals when they first started and has a direct connection to the current GM of the team — he hired him as an account executive. His favorite memory was hosting the All Star Game in 2007.
Kirk exudes a positive attitude and a genuine enthusiasm for life, even in a simple game of catch on a thoroughly saturated field.
I wanted to play catch with Kirk to get his advice about making #Catch365 more than just a quirky project, but something that would truly make a difference in the Springfield community. His advice was quite bold.
“Be aggressive. Don’t give up. Find a way to get to the people you need to get to.”
As we walked off the field, Kirk shook my hand and smiled.
“Thanks for reaching out, you made my day.”
And then he offered one more important piece of advice, both for catch and for life.
“Don’t be afraid to ask for help.”