Reader Contributed Sports

Op-Ed: This Is What Baseball, and Life, Is Really All About

Lucas (left) runs alongside Chase Rancourt on the Miracle League of Connecticut field in West Hartford. Photo courtesy of Heather Rancourt

West Hartford resident Heather Rancourt shares a story about her son, baseball, and the beauty of a Miracle League game played on Mother’s Day.

Lucas (left) runs alongside Chase Rancourt on the Miracle League of Connecticut field in West Hartford. Photo courtesy of Heather Rancourt

By Heather Rancourt

My 16-year-old son, Chase, has been playing baseball since he was 5 years old.

Lucas (left) runs alongside Chase Rancourt on the Miracle League of Connecticut field in West Hartford. Photo courtesy of Heather Rancourt

He loved it then and loves it now, some might say it’s kind of his thing. I tease him because I’m not sure what he’ll do in life if he’s not somehow connected to baseball. The only logical thing I can think of, since he’s a pitcher, would be for him to guide airplanes into their gates. It’s pretty much the same arm movement.

I’ve sat for countless hours watching games and cheering, no matter the outcome. He’s won, he’s lost, he’s been sat, he’s been a hero, and he’s learned a lot about the game of baseball.

One time, he actually “never wanted to play again!” because of a situation on the field. Can’t really even remember why at this point but we did not agree with quitting during the season, so we pushed him forward. I remember saying, “don’t be bitter, be better.”C

Chase works very hard to be better, even to this day. He knows there is always someone faster, stronger, more disciplined, and better out there.

Which brings me to Sunday, Mother’s Day. Chase’s team, Northwest Catholic Baseball, helped out with the Miracle League game. Each of Chase’s team members was assigned to a child with disabilities.

The kids were so excited and had all received their own uniforms. Chase was assigned to a little boy named Lucas.

I stood by the backstop watching in awe. The announcer called Lucas up to bat, his smile so big, and Chase helping him with the bat to get ready for the first pitch. As Lucas swung, he hit the ball, and all the spectators cheered!

Chase and Lucas began to take off for first base, running alongside each other. I turned to my left, to see a dad videotaping and cheering for Lucas – rooting him on and overwhelmed with joy because he hit the ball!

It was at this moment, it hit me. I started to cry. I thought about every game I had sat at, with all the highs and lows. The championships, the losses in the last inning, the injuries, the coaches, the players, the parents, the umpires, the weather, the schedules, the driving around, and I thought – none of that means as much as this game right here, right now.

This was big day for Lucas, his dad, and his family. It was also a big day for Chase and his family because this was by far, the BEST baseball game I’d ever attended.

We learned about so much more than baseball. We learned about life, and we are very grateful and thankful to a little boy named Lucas. Thank you to Dr. Peg O’Neill for setting up this game, and thank you to Northwest Catholic’s baseball coach Cory Carlson for making it happen.

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  • My grandson Brayden is 6 years old and a VERY special little boy. This is his second year playing for the Miracle League and he played on Sunday (Mother’s Day) with the help of the NWC (my alma mater : ) baseball team. We’re not too sure how Brayden feels about baseball, but he loves the camaraderie, the socialization, his teammates, the “big kids” who help out, and the excitement of the game. Thank you to the NWC baseball team and to all the other volunteers who show up every Sunday to make sure Brayden and all kids — whatever their abilities — get a chance to play!

  • We were at that game too. Our son, Ben, is a player on Miracle League and we are so grateful for your son and the other Northwest Catholic and Loomis Chafee players that volunteered. Mother’s Day that day was amazing. The rain held off and although Ben sat in right field for a large part of the game, he also ran the bases during one of the innings so fast- made us so proud! I think our West Hartford community is magical the way they come together. Thank you for raising a great kid and thank you to Miracle League <3

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