For the 3rd year in a row I strolled out onto the would be baseball field on our Port O’Connor School grounds and was disappointed to see it’s sad, rusted, decomposing state. The pipes holding up the decaying backstop 15 feet over our children’s head had rusted completely through in spots. Our bases looked like a mint that you had sucked on for far too long and the turf, well, there was none. What had happened to “America’s Favorite Pastime”? The game that had become symbolic of our country and a source of pride as it endured the hardships of war, The Great Depression and so much more. Images of Babe Ruth, Shoeless Joe and Mickey Mantle brought forth the old-timie idea of having a “Baseball Social”. I dreamt of our community families gathering together, shutting down the street for a block party to bond, share stories, pot luck and maybe play a little ball with the neighborhood kids. And then, it happened!
Everyone had a memory of playing ball as a child, going to a game with their grandpa or simply playing a game of catch with their friends or beloved family member. So I put it out on the old interweb to see if anybody in our small town would be interested in donating some bases or maybe some dirt. Within a period of 4 days our call spread like wild fire and we had over $400 in donations pledged by private citizens! Materials and labor for a new backstop was offered up along with dirt and field lights! I was ecstatically shocked and things began to snowball.
As we ordered new bases, Rigimonti Welding offered to make us new bleachers, a chalk line machine was donated by Shrimpfest Fishing Tournament in Seadrift, Shoalwater Boats pledged dirt for the infield, Port O’Connor Sports Association donated $10,000 for Joe Krynek of Krynek Fence to build a new backstop and Dow Chemical was enlisted to help Steven Few Electric, Action Welding, Mark Peterson and Fred Chaney bring lights to the field. On April 10th the Calhoun County ISD School Board approved the project and construction is set to begin the last week in April.
Each practice our little tee ball and coach-pitch team runs out on to the current field like they’ve just been released for recess, but I can hardly hear their squeals over Kevin Costner voice in my head whispering “If you build it, they will come” like his 1989 movie Field of Dreams. The name on the front of our jersey represents who we play for, and the name on the back represents who raised you and where you came from. So THANK YOU Port O’Connor for sponsoring and donating and helping to create a field that will last for generations and memories that will last a lifetime. Play Ball Y’all!