“My experience of helping is rough to just explain, it would be easier to show what it was like to see what people went through. Just getting off the bus and seeing what the damage really looked like, people had literally lost everything.” Said Nathan Peteck, a pitcher on the freshman team.
Few people can relate to those from Fairdale and Kirkland, and head coach Dan Napper wanted his team to understand the importance of being able to give back to those in need.
“Baseball is a game, simply put, that we are fortunate enough to enjoy as a privilege. These young men got a chance to see what life is really like when it knocks you down. Striking out with the bases loaded is not a big deal in perspective. More than anything that is what I wanted them to understand, perspective for someone in a difficult situation and to realize how much one day of work could help.”
The team spend eight hours clearing debris from multiple fields, cleaning up fallen trees, and removing any small pieces from farming fields so the land could be used for harvest still. They walked away sore, dirty, and hungry, but in the end walked away as better young men. “I’m always thrilled to help people and to have this opportunity on this occasion was just exhilarating.” said Ryan Korabik a freshman first baseman and pitcher.
Freshman Jakob Kostecki realized afterwards the importance of the perspective that his coach had spoken about to the team. “It showed me to be thankful for what we have at the moment and cherish it because all we know might not be there tomorrow.”
Varsity head coach John Sarna preaches community service to his program and sets high expectations for every young man, freshman through senior. This however was an opportunity that went beyond community service and the freshman team embraced the opportunity to make a positive impact for those in need.
“After the whole thing was over, just pausing to look back on it all, and seeing the people that this happened to and seeing how large a disaster this was, I’m glad I can say I put my time in to help those people that lost so much.” said Nathan Peteck.
The entire effort was a group of people coming together to help those who were truly in need. If you speak to coach Napper it was not just a baseball team taking a day away from practice or a game; it was one community helping another.
“It was the guys on the team, the parents as well, the other coaches that I work with. It was immensely inspiring to hear how excited the boys were to be a part of this when I approached them with the idea. And then the parents, they jumped on board immediately, organized all the rides, brought food and drinks for the boys and the other people we were working with. It was truly a team effort. In the end it was a great moment for some young boys to do something bigger than the game of baseball, bigger than themselves, and take a small step to becoming men.”