Ryan was homeschooled when we first started playing, so we were thrilled for his chance to get to know some new boys and get to play his best sport more than just in league. Now, the idea was for him to get some extra playing time. Our only boy has always loved to throw and hit a ball! We had no idea how this decision was going to effect our lives.
During pre-game and at the end of all practices the boys said, "DBacks." For the last four years they said, "FAMILY!" This is not a traditional pump up cheer for a group of 11 year old boys, but it fit and it stuck. And again, we didn't know what it meant for us all at the time.
It wasn't long before our familes started sharing rides for our kids, taking group orders from the concession stand, bringing toys for the younger siblings to share, passing our sunblock around for everyone to use, and wearing matching t-shirts. It became the standard for us.
We began hosting big ball tournaments so we could raise money to travel to tournaments during the summer. We spent 48 hours at a time tending a concession stand, fixing fields, umpiring games and handling teams from all over the state. We did this so we could spend weeks of the summer together in places like Oklahoma City, Kansas City, Saint Louis, Orlando, and Gulf Port. We also played tournaments in-state and cheered our team on in everything from 100 degree temperatures to tornado-like weather. We ate at restaurants with ALL of our families, wrote our team names on our car windows every tournament weekend, and watched each other's families grow up before our very eyes.
Jordan, Trenton H, Ryan, Jalen and Tyler 2003
In 2005 we attended our first funeral together. Zac's grandmother died. Inez came to as many of our games as she could. She was in poor health the entire time we've known her, but Zac was her grandson and she wanted to be there. She talked to all the boys and knew all their names and positions. When she died, the boys were in 5th grade and the funeral was scheduled for the morning when most of the boys were going to VBS. They decided to wear their jerseys and skip out of part of VBS and go to the funeral for a 80+ year old lady. Over the years, several of our families have lost grandparents and some of us have gone to those funerals. It was important and the right thing to do because we were FAMILY.