Making a Difference

By Devon Jeffreys

I’ve never thought of myself as someone that people can look up to. I’ve led, but I’ve never considered myself a leader. This spring break things came into perspective and I think I’m ready for that to change.

While most students spent time at the beach or partying with their friends over spring break, I invited my dad down and we took off for Port St. Lucie to watch a little spring training baseball.

It wasn’t anything about the games that made me feel different, in fact as I snapped photos and hunted for David Wright’s elusive autograph, I felt more like a 12 year old again than anything else.

But after one of the games, as my dad and I stood outside the stadium in the parking lot playing catch, a young boy came up to my dad and asked if he could play. We didn’t know the boy, but my dad didn’t hesitate in taking off his glove and handing it to the gloveless child.

I threw the ball to the boy and he showed just how inexperienced in the game he was. His way of catching the ball was unorthodox at best, but my dad and I took it upon ourselves to teach him the right way.

My dad taught me how to play baseball when I was younger and so anything I know came from him. He never played baseball after high school, but as a coach in little league, he taught many kids my age the fundamentals.

As we worked with the boy, I began to think about what I would have done without a father figure in my life. We continued playing as his mother got off her phone and introduced herself.

My dad spoke with her for a few minutes and came to find out that she was raising the boy alone and he was in fact without a father figure.

Meanwhile, he and I played catch for about 20 minutes and he was able to catch many of the balls I threw his way. When he didn’t, he would chase the ball down and try to throw it back from as far away as he could.

I showed him how to throw more strongly and that he had to pull his arm back to throw, not just throw from his shoulder. He began to show immediate results.

After a while, his mom called to him that it was time to go. He thanked my dad and I for letting him play and jumped in his mom’s car. I felt bad because I wasn’t sure if he even had a glove or ball of his own and I wanted baseball to bring joy to him the way it had brought joy to me.

I would have given him my glove if I had a spare, but as it is I’ve had my glove for seven years and am in dire need of a replacement.

As my dad and I got in the car, I had this profound sense of accomplishment. That I had made and impact in this boy’s life and I hope I really did.

It also brought to me a realization that I may have been missing all along. I’d really love to coach Little League. That’s something I could do that could have a real effect, maybe more than I could have as a writer. So I think I’m going to take the steps to become a coach because I want to make a difference.

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