Sunday, July 28, 2013

"I Gave Away Brian's Catcher's Gear... And, It Hurt!"

A well earned box juice...
Today, I got a big frog in my throat. I knew my boy would never use it, ever again, and my only consolation is that it is "in a better place" than it would be here in the back shed.

I called the Tri-Parish Official Association and spoke to one of the administrators about giving Brian's catcher's equipment to a struggling member of the umpire's association. It was really hard to see and touch something so real, that is attached to a heart that is no longer beating.

Mr. Dragna told me how shocked and saddened he was to hear the news. 

"He was a great kid. He loved the game of baseball and the kids too," he said.

"I wish I would have known of his depressions. Maybe, I could have helped... Ben, he was with us for seven years and he was like family!"

Gary went on about Brian, and I was so appreciative, but I started to fall apart over the phone, hearing how no one had the slightest idea what Brian was going through... Oh God!

I quickly cut the man off from anymore hyperbole and accolades by asking him to please take Brian's catching equipment and lend it to someone on staff. I just can't give it away to Goodwill, and I won't sell the love our son had for the position. Brian loved catching and pitching and playing middle infield, but most of all, he loved to catch. He didn't have a strong arm to throw out runners that were stealing second base, but the pitchers all loved his ability to call ball and strikes and take command of the game, defensively, from behind the plate. 

Brian knew the game, and the pitchers all appreciated his strategy. He took a lot of pride in the positon too. Maybe one of his last ditch efforts to play the game was two years ago when he tried out for an over thirty men's league here in Louisiana...

In baseball, not softball!

He, at first, played second base and some outfield. He was a bit frustrated by his diminishing skills, but nonetheless, he was enjoying the weekend double headers. One day, he went out and bought the catcher's gear when he heard the original catcher could no longer continue to play.

He was in heaven, then, right here on earth. Today, maybe a different kind of heaven!

Copyright 2013/ Ben BensenIII


  1. What a great way to pass along the love of the game -- and the memory of your son!

    1. Thanks Bella... It's an every now and then thing. Something comes up and reminds me of him. We still have quite a few things of his to decide upon, but knowing how he loved the game, this was, for me, the hardest.

  2. I have a lump in my throat too, reading that, Ben. I believe objects we cherish carry that love with them where ever they wind up. Maybe some of Brian's love of the game will inspire another young man to excellence in the sport some day...

  3. Thanks Mark. I guess that's the idea. I am glad I gave his equipment to a person that I know knew our son. Watched," For the Love Of The Game!" with Kevin Kostner and Vin Scully. It wasn't a very good movie as baseball movies go, but one scene had me sobbing... don't even know why except for Brian's love for the game and all the fun we had together and how different the illness made him over time.

  4. Thanks for sharing this story, Ben. I've never seen that particular picture of Brian.