Fortitude and Determination

Mark Selavka

In mid-June, ABC News featured an inspiring article about 17 year-old Mark Selavka who is a pitcher for the Manchester High School Indians in Connecticut. Mark has cerebral palsy which is a neurological condition that has severely weakened the left side of his body, giving him only limited use of his left hand and a limp when he walks or runs. However, in spite of this Mark has become a Varsity pitcher who works in relief and specializes in off-speed pitches with accurate placement to get key outs.

According to Mark, his parents helped to change his attitude as a youngster when he suffered from the taunts of others and was ready to give up his dream of playing baseball:

“My dad always used to sit me down and say, ‘You can never say that again. Don’t say I can’t. It’s I can, I can, I can,'”

As an inspiration, Mark watched videos of Jim Abbott who was a one-handed pitcher for the New York Yankees and threw a no-hitter in 1993. Mark followed Abbott’s technique of throwing and catching with one arm, quickly putting on the glove after each pitch. Mark wears #25 in honor of Jim Abbott, who is his hero and example. Mark made the Varsity team this year as a junior after having tried out before and not made the cut. He made it this time by being the hardest working player on the roster without any special considerations.

Never give up, never give in.

Amazing Adam Bender

I found this amazing video and had to share it. It says it all about inspiration, courage, character and how Baseball is Life…

Adam Bender, 8, is one of several kids who play catcher in Southeastern’s rookie league at Veterans Park. What makes Adam stand out is that he plays one of the toughest positions on the field with only one leg. Because of cancer, he had his left leg amputated when he was one. Adam doesn’t use a prosthesis, and only uses crutches when he reaches base for the Astros.

[Video by Charles Bertram, Lexington Herald-Leader.]

Nuf Ced!

Another Angel in the Outfield…

IN MEMORY OF HERBERT WING 1961-2009

It is with a heavy heart that I share word of the passing of Herb Wing who died last night in the hospital after suffering a massive heart attack last Saturday. Herb was a great husband, father, coach, friend and neighbor to those who were fortunate to know him including myself. He was only 47 years old.

Herb’s house is just down the street from mine and our kids have played together both in our yards and on the ball fields many times over the years. The bus stop is at the corner of my yard, and every day Herb could be counted on to walk his boys the short 1/2 block to wait for the bus, just to spend time with them. I always enjoyed chatting with him and was happy to loan him my ladder to fight the ice-dams that caused roof leaks this past winter.

Herb was the Major League Coordinator for Littleton Youth Baseball and my son Matt had high hopes to play on his team this upcoming season because of his competitive nature and excellent coaching ability. Herb could always be counted on for a ready smile, especially when I told him that he was separated at birth from Carleton Fiske (really uncanny resemblance). He would always make a point of saying “Hi” with a wave if he passed me while I was directing traffic. He is survived by his wife Rose, his boys Justin (9) and Michael (12), and their dog Lakota. Our lives are so much emptier because of this terrible loss, but my prayer is that God drafted Herb to help a team in heaven…

To Make A Donation:

An account has been established at Northern Bank and Trust to help Rose, Michael and Justin. The bank has indicated that all contributions must include the specific PO number in the address, or they won’t be delivered. Also, the bank will save all cards that accompany contributions, and they will be given to Rose, Michael and Justin. Contributions may be sent to the following address:

Friends of the Wing Family Fund
Northern Bank and Trust
PO Box 597
265 Great Road
Littleton, MA 01460

  • Visiting Hours will be held at the Badger Funeral Home, 347 King Street, Littleton MA: Mon. 3/23 2-4 pm & 6-9 pm.
  • Funeral Services will be held at the Church of the Good Shepherd, 164 Newtown Road, Acton MA: Tues. 3/24 10 am. Burial at Westlawn Cemetery, Littleton MA.
  • In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Friends of the Wing Family Fund.

One Dirt Dog’s Reward

The 2008 All-Star Edition of The Best Players in Babe Ruth League is now published and available for distribution. Just the thing to warm up the middle of winter!

Each season the Babe Ruth League selects its most outstanding baseball and softball players who represented their local leagues in District, State and Regional tournament competition leading up to the Cal Ripken World Series. These players are profiled with their statistics, teams and league affiliations which becomes a permanent part of the library collections at the Babe Ruth and National Baseball Halls of Fame.

I’m very proud to say that my son Matt’s name is among those honored this year. What a thrill to see him represented among the best Babe Ruth baseball players in the country.

Baseball Mom

You’re a Baseball Mom

And you show us your love,

When you help us with hitting

Or play catch with Dad’s glove.

 

From the backstop and bleachers

We hear you cheering us on,

And you take us on road trips

Whether short ones or long.

 

Your competitive fire

Helps us to play at our best

And builds our desire

To stand out from the rest.

 

Whether winning or losing

You help us to know

It’s in how we both play

–Not the score– that we grow.

 

You’re a Baseball Mom,

Thanks for all that you do!

We’re the champs on your Team

And we all love you, too.