Results tagged ‘ Henryville ’

Meet Spike

by David Rhode

One of the most memorable people and memorable stories from our trip to Henryville, Indiana was the chance to meet a young boy who as you can see is best known to his friends as “Spike”.

10 year old Colin and his family lost their home in the EF4 tornado that struck their community on March 2nd.  Although his family is doing well, everyone in the family was injured that day, but the quick-thinking Spike.  Why you might ask.  Well he put on his batting helmet and that helped him weather the dramatic events of the day.

If you want to meet Spike and some of the other members of the Henryville Youth Baseball Association who were imacted by our recent equipment donation, just check out our video below.

Opening Day

by David Rhode

Opening Day in any youth league is a time of anticipation, fun, chaos and occasionally some baseball mixed in.  However for the community of Henryville, Indiana, the 2012 Opening Day ceremonies were a time of particular significance.  You see in this day and age of short attention spans the name Henryville, Indiana may not mean much to most people.  Therefore, let me take you back just 6 weeks to when this community was devastated by an EF4 tornado on March 2nd.

So for Henryville the idea that on April 14 they’d be gathering with smiles on their faces to kick off their baseball season would have seemed impossible.  Pitch In For Baseball, Louisville Slugger and countless other caring individuals provided equipment, financial support and manpower to help them get back on their feet.

I had the privilege along with fellow Pitch In For Baseball Board Member, John Yengo, of attending their Opening Day this past Saturday.  The kids were great.  We met “Spike” and “Big Poppi” and coaches and league administrators who through their efforts were able to give kids the chance to play ball.  The sentiments we heard echoed time and again on Saturday was how important it was to give both the kids and the community something that resembled normalcy even when things around them were anything but that.

With massive construction going on down the street at the school, Henryville is still a work in progress.  However if the spirit exhibited Saturday is any indication, I think there are many good days ahead.

For more pictures from Henryville’s Opening Day, visit the Pitch In For Baseball Facebook page. www.facebook.com/#!/PitchInForBaseball

And away it goes

by David Rhode

Less than 48 hours after we heard from the group in Henryville, Indiana 11 boxes are on their way to replace the equipment they lost in the tornadoes a week ago.  I think that represents the new gold standard for turnaround between request and shipment.

The equipment will run the gamut.  It will be gloves, baseballs, softballs, bats, batting helmets, equipment bags, cleats, pants, catcher’s gear.  The reason we can react so quickly is that we’ve received so many wonderful donations in the past.  That said, we are almost out of gloves and catcher’s gear and our supply of baseballs is getting low.  These are somewhat normal occurences for us at this time of the year.  March is a month where a lot more equipment goes out the door than comes in.

The equipment and uniforms we donate are our way to say “we hope things get better soon”.  What can you say to a group that has had its world turned upside town.  Friends or loved ones lost their loves or suffered terrible injuries.  Homes were destroyed or damaged. 

What we do know is that the kids in the Henryville Babe Ruth league will get back to practice next week and their Opening Day will go off as scheduled.

Waiting for the phone to ring

by David Rhode

The other day I was talking to someone about Pitch In For Baseball and I predicted that “I will get a phone call within 3 days from someone in Indiana who was impacted by the tornadoes”.  Sadly, that call came 1 hour later, not 3 days.

For those of you who have not been watching the news, much of the Midwest and specifically southern Indiana were devastated by tornadoes last Friday.  One town in particular that found itself in the way of mother nature’s wrath was Henryville, Indiana.  Henryville was in the news for the heroic efforts of Stephanie Decker.  She is brave mom who ended up losing her legs in the course of her efforts to save her children as her house literally caved in on top of her and her family.

Damage assessments are still be tallied.  The loss of life and property is more than 1 town should ever bear.

Pitch In For Baseball has been involved with a range of these scenarios in recent years.  It’s a “who’s who” of tragic images…New Orleans, Japan, Joplin to name a few.  And now Henryville.

Within each of these towns is a volunteer who has been thrust into the unsuspecting role of the person charged with figuring out what to do about getting kids in a devastated town back on the baseball field. The process starts with the big picture.  Who has been killed, hurt, lost their home?  What condition are our fields in?  Do we have any equipment left?  If so, can it be used?

In our experience the inner circle of the town’s youth baseball organization quickly concludes that these kids need baseball.  The need it soon and maybe more than ever.  And that’s when our phone rings.

So this week I’ve heard the stories and seen the images.  Even so, how can anyone say that they can imagine what it’s like.  Entire streets or neighborhoods simply gone.

Pitch In For Baseball is not the Red Cross or any of the many wonderful organizations that provide humanitarian need.  We help kids play baseball.  I’m torn between the thoughts of how trivial baseball can seem at a time like this and how vital it can be to the psyche of a child or a community.  When everything around you has literally been turned on its head, sometimes just playing a game or having a catch can be much-needed therapy for the mind, body and soul.

Our warehouse is simply nuts this time of year.  The first two weeks of March are our busiest two weeks on the calendar.  There are literally dozens of high school and youth programs who need equipment to launch their seasons.  We are an organization of two full time staff, and there is physically only so much that can get done in a day.

So today we began in earnest the process of getting equipment to Henryville.  It went to the top of our very long list.  We don’t have enough equipment for all of our recipients, so we also began the process of letting others know that we could use some help.  More equipment.  More financial support.  Our website’s homepage now tells the story of our desire and plans to assist the good people of Indiana.  Our donate now button could use some action.

For a kid from Philadelphia, it’s hard to admit that your favorite sports movie is Hoosiers and not Rocky.  But my thoughts for the next days and weeks will be on a different group of Hoosiers…the good people of Henryville, Indiana.