I wore red on my first baseball team. Red pants and red stirrups pulled tight and a hat with a red bill that was nowhere near flat. This was the team where everyone wanted to try on the catcher’s gear and there was a breakout of lice. Being bald was a blessing.
In 2015, I wore red as a role player in Larry Foley’s baseball documentary The First Boys of Spring. A white wool uniform, a tan hat, and red tall socks. That same pair of socks will be part of my uniform on Sunday.
For years, I owned no red clothes. My wardrobe was all shades of blue. I never had to worry about anything matching. I could discern which t-shirt was which simply from the shade of blue on the sleeve.
The head coach of the CY Cyclones is the head coach of Drury University’s baseball team. Drury’s colors are red (scarlet) and gray. It makes sense, then, that the Cyclones would be red.
I was fortunate to not only be drafted by the head coach of Drury, but to find a sponsor — The Hamels Foundation. Created by Heidi and Cole Hamels, the Hamels Foundation “is dedicated to enriching the lives of children through the power of education by giving them the tools they need to achieve their goals.” For ten years now, The Hamels Foundation has provided financial support to schools in the United States and in Malawi, Africa.
On Day #348 of Catch 365, I watched The Hamels Foundation donate new cleats to the softball and baseball teams of Conway High School just before Christmas. I have no practical use for metal cleats and still found myself drooling over the gift.
I visited with Kathy, the COO of the foundation, and heard so many stories. Stories of building a primary school and breaking the cycle of poverty. Stories of collegiate scholarships and after-school programs and playground equipment. And one story of Delaware Elementary, the school where I grew up, the school where Jamie teaches, providing sensory room supplies and gardening equipment. The support of The Hamels Foundation has directly impacted my wife’s calling, too.
I contacted Kathy and told her of my desire to try out for the Grip ‘N’ Rip league.
“The Hamels Foundation would be honored to sponsor you!” she replied almost immediately.
Along with the sponsorship, Kathy sent me a new red t-shirt — “Education is the answer.”
I will proudly wear red on Sunday.
To learn more about The Hamels Foundation, click here.