Dear Jacksonville State Softball,
One ominous day back in April of 2006, in the Middle Tennessee area, the sky turned dark and everything had a green tint to it. It was weird. Seconds later, there was a siren and we took cover in the hallway. The doors flew open, our ears popped and it sounded like a freight train was headed straight for us. The building shook and then it was over.
We were supposed to have practice that day. Instead, we were trapped on campus until 6:30 p.m. We were never able to actually play on our field for the rest of the season. Our home games were moved to the local park — if it was available. Our locker room was destroyed but, thank God, nobody was hurt.
I know how it feels to play ball without a home. You want to play in front of your fans, at your ballpark, that you practice on almost every day.
For those of you who were caught in the middle of the storm in Jacksonville, AL on Monday, it might take some time to get over it but that’s normal. The best way to get over the fear of storms — if you develop a fear — is to get out in the community and help with clean up.
I remember going to a nearby neighborhood where houses were lifted off the foundation and moved next to it, or houses collapsed and were completely destroyed. It was being on one side of the neighborhood and finding things that belonged to a house on the opposite side that made me realize how lucky I was. I returned photographs to their owner and realized that losing the field didn’t really matter in the bigger picture.
As my mom continued to drive me around campus, our bleachers were found down the road and the netting from our backstop was on a telephone wire half a mile away. The community rallied around us and I thought that this is where you will find your peace. When strangers ask how they can help, or rival schools donate equipment. When students at the bigger schools in the area acknowledged that we were hurting and needed help, they stepped up to the plate.
So, the question is: How can we help? What do you need from the softball community? Clothes? Housing items? Please don’t hesitate to let us know.
Publisher, BTP Softball