Our Fund’s first formal event was held on Saturday morning. Titled “Quality Time With a Quality Major Leaguer,” it featured our Board Member Neil Walker spending two+ hours with youth baseball players from Charleston in the indoor baseball facility operated by our friend Tim Gansrow of PPA facility in Mt. Pleasant. Neil took his Old Hickory bat into a batting cage and (with assistance from Board Member Andy Goff doing the throwing) self-narrated a progression through his batting drills and what each was accomplishing. As he narrated, the life lessons of baseball also flowed naturally from Neil’s narrative coupled with his responses to the questions from players and parents. You could hear a pin drop.
The scheduled 90 minute session turned into 120 minutes, then 130 minutes, and still no one wanted to leave. The reactions and comments from players and parents alike (and Coach Lake of Charleston Southern University) were uniformly positive and enthusiastic. We had hoped for a home run in our first “at bat.” Neil delivered a Grand Slam. But nothing resonated more clearly than the testament offered by four friends of Clint’s – all former teammates of Clint’s and Neil’s who – without any prompting or invitation – felt they “had to be here” and showed up in Charleston – from Pittsburgh, Charlotte and Durham. Ty Haak. Andy Goff. Dale Mollenhauer. Jim Gallagher. They enhanced the commentary immeasurably, but their mere presence at the event – supporting a friend celebrate the legacy of another friend a dozen years after they had been teammates – expresses our Mission louder than words.
We are proud to direct you (for the first time in our brief existence) to the Projects section of our website. Here, you can see photos of the event and a magnificent article written by Charleston senior sportswriter Gen Sapakoff, which in Saturday’s paper introduced our fund to the Charleston community with honor. All of the TV stations carried positive stories on their evening news, such as this one.