In the top half of the seventh, the Essex Otters, a motley squad of high school kids, had mounted a furious comeback against the veteran Green Mountain Bombers. With runners on first and second, a rocket into the centerfield triangle was enough to bring across the tying and go-ahead runs, stunning the home team and sending the Otters on their way to a championship.
It was the deciding game of the Summer Classic, a 12-team Wiffle Ball tournament held at Little Fenway in Jericho, Vt., and organized by SLAMDiabetes, an organization led by Jeff Kolok, whose goal is to help the lives of kids with Type 1 diabetes, and the families that support them. Kolok himself has children with Type 1 diabetes, and started the group as a way to raise awareness and funds to fight the disease and improve the lives of the families affected. He also swings a mean bat for the Bombers.
I volunteered at the Vermont event, and later, I got to play with my own team in the New Bedford, Mass., tournament, held to fight Type 1 diabetes and benefit the Bay Sox Foundation. From my tented seat, I worked as the official scorer for some of the games, and in my downtime, helped set up chairs, hang signs and run lineups.
It is inherently silly, watching grown men and women don uniforms, swing bright yellow bats and scamper around a miniature diamond. And it was an amazing flashback to little league, in that I couldn’t get on base to save my life. But, for two weekends, I was a small part of an organization that is trying to help, trying to make a difference. And it all takes place in an amazing setting. (more…)