Sam Stevenson, The Circuit
America’s national pastime has, for generations, inspired kids all around the world to get outside and play ball. On this gloomy, overcast day this remained the case as a throng of kids, boys and girls alike, ranging in ages from 6 to 14 converged on the baseball field for a day of community building with the school’s athletic programs and the community of Aitchison.
On Sunday Sept. 30, the Raven baseball team hosted a baseball clinic for the children of Atchison. It provided the kids a chance to run around with kids their age and learn some skills from the players and coaches of the Raven baseball team.
Ravens pitcher John Webber saw a certain bond grow that day and was encouraged by the activity from both the kids and the players and coaches.
“It can get easy sometimes on campus to feel disconnected from the town, but even realizing something like there was a youth baseball program in town, and then interacting with the kids made it feel a lot more like home.” Webber said. “It was great to see all the kids running around out there on the field,” Webber said.
College towns are no rarities these days but for many what is rare is a college that reaches out and makes itself part of the community of the town, part of the town’s social fabric. While this may not always be the case when speaking of the relationship between the city of Atchison and Benedictine, big steps were taken that Sunday in bringing the two closer together.
Ellen Stephenson, a local mother within the Atchison community had her two boys in the camp.
“I think any opportunity to play and being able to be in awe of the players and the facilities is an opportunity we are happy to take,” Stephenson said.
The attitude on both sides of the camp was something that stood out to Jennifer O’Malley, wife of Professor Patrick O’Malley who works in the engineering department here at Benedictine.
“They look like they are having a great time. I’m really impressed with coach and the players and their attitude throughout this,” O’Malley said.
Not once did it seem that the players and coaches were getting worn down. It was as if the exuberant energy of the kids equally divided itself among the players and the coaches working the camp. Throughout the whole two-hour clinic, the energy remained high among the players.
“It’s really neat. You can tell they want to be here,” O’Malley said of the players.
At the very beginning of the camp, to warm up everybody, kids and players alike, lined up and played catch.
“That was one of the best moments of the day, even when balls were going every which direction and you didn’t know which of the kids was throwing at you,” Webber said.
On this day, America’s national pastime brought people together.
To some people something so simple as tossing a ball back and forth can seem thoughtless. However, to Weber it represented exactly what the day hoped to achieve.