Press "Enter" to skip to content

Column: DOTTING MY TEAS – Play Ball

By: Marlene Oxender

Anyone who knew my brother Stevie also knew how much he loved to ride his bike to the ballpark. How much he loved to be around people who’d gathered just to have fun together. And how he was included in the happenings in his little hometown.

Like many with Down syndrome, he grew up knowing he was loved by those around him. He was accepted as a coach. As a manager. As a spectator. As an encourager. He’d even thrown out the first pitch of the season a few years ago.

Now that he’s gone, we know how much he brought to the plate. How much he loved being outside. How he loved to see a ball tossed his way. Life was good, and he didn’t want to miss a minute of it.

Stevie had a joke about being “in charge.” Sometimes he was in charge. Sometimes not. There were times he told me that I was in charge.

And when I was in charge, he’d tell others they should “help her out.” It made people laugh. So, the little video in my camera where he tells me I’m in charge is one of many I will always treasure.

It was on a Facebook post in which my family learned of a donation jar at Edgerton Subway. That particular week – the money in the jar was given to the Edgerton Recreation Association.

Since I didn’t know what the recreation program was, I went ahead and asked. I was told those who run the program are in charge of the tee-ball through high school baseball and softball programs.

After the players are signed up to play, coaches are found. Uniforms are ordered. Games are scheduled. Umpires are lined up. There are bills to pay and checks to write.

Edgerton has two parks, Gerhart Park, and Miller Park, with a total of seven baseball fields to take care of. Someone has to manage the equipment – the catcher’s gear, tee-ball equipment, bats, balls, and things we don’t even think about.

Profits from the concession stands are the biggest source of income, and volunteers are always needed to keep both locations open during the games.

There are many community members already volunteering and making things easier so those in charge can focus on other tasks at hand. Things like being in charge.

It’s also good to remember that local merchants have financially donated over the years and continue to play a part in keeping the program up and running.

In honor of Stevie’s love for Edgerton sports, our family will be making a donation in his memory. Those who’d like to donate to the program may mail their check to the Edgerton Summer Recreation. P.O. Box 328. Edgerton, Ohio 43517.

If you choose to donate to your own hometown recreation program, your donation could be made in honor of someone special in your life.

For those who’d like to donate cash, Stevie loved the ten dollar bill the most. He wasn’t fond of the two-dollar bill. I think it confused him a bit.

Stevie kept his coins sorted in small containers of quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies. His family will make sure his money is donated to some of his favorite places.

The next time I see a donation jar, no matter who the funds are designated for, there’s a good chance I’ll think of Stevie as I donate my loose coins, or his favorite ten-dollar bill, and help them out.

It’s safe to say those “in charge” will be grateful you’ve chosen to “help them out.” Spring is here, and summer is around the corner – a time when we see bikes heading to the ballpark.

A time we are in need of some sunshine on our arms and face. A time to be at the ballpark with people who’ve gathered just to have fun together.


Marlene Oxender is a writer, speaker, and author. She writes about growing up in the small town of Edgerton, her ten siblings, the memorabilia in her parents’ estate, and her younger brother, Stevie Kimpel, who was born with Down syndrome. Her two recently published books, Picket Fences and Stevie, are available on Amazon.


The post Column: DOTTING MY TEAS – Play Ball first appeared on The Village Reporter.

Source: The Village Reporter

Be First to Comment

    Leave a Reply