Opinion: Baseball players make a fan for life

Staff Writer

Many of us, regardless of how old we are, have remained friends with people we grew up with or went to school with. We lived in the same neighborhood, sat in the same science and English classes, played on the same sports teams.

For reasons sometimes unexplained, we’e made connections that made us friends for life.

Last week, members of the West Point High School baseball team made a fan — no, a friend — for life.

So much so, she donated $300 to the booster club and is coming to throw out the first pitch at Friday’s home district opener against Saltillo.

It’s a story of teenagers being more than just good students and good athletes, they were good citizens and good men.

It all started Wednesday, March 14.

The team was in Oxford for a two-day spring break baseball tournament hosted by Oxford High. The Green Wave had played a pair of games Tuesday, including a late loss and were up again early Wednesday morning for breakfast and a pair of games.

It also happened to be the day members of the Company C2, 198th Combined Arms Battalion of the Mississippi National Guard unit were leaving Oxford for their deployment. The city was staging a send off celebration and families and the community were in town to pay tribute.

One of the Guardsmen, 1st Sgt. Chris Coleman from Meridian and his wife, Martha Samantha Hobson Coleman happened to be staying at the Hampton Inn in Oxford, the same hotel where the baseball team was staying.

By the time Wednesday morning rolled around, Samantha Coleman — in her own words shared on Facebook — was a near basket case, realizing her husband was going to the Middle East for nine months.

She and a few other spouses and citizens spent the night before making signs to say goodbye along the highway.

Bu they needed help, help holding signs and more importantly, emotional and spiritual strength.

I’ll let Coleman tell some of it in her own words.

“I turned around and a literal Green Wave of Angels walked towards us (another sign of our Heavenly Father, he sent more angels to stand with us.) Within seconds my best friend, the man I will spend the rest of my life with and all the other soldiers literally passed us with Oxford Police escorting them safely to the highway.

“I’m at this point standing with a rush of emotions and literally losing grip when a young man whom I have never met walked straight to me and hugged me. This young man told me he would be praying for me and held me until he knew I would be OK. This young man, another Godly man, another Angel had a West Point baseball uniform on. That hug helped me keep my sanity all day, literally until I was able to fall asleep last night,” she wrote Thursday in a Facebook post.

I said it all started Wednesday. I was wrong, it all started much earlier than that with these young men. And the community should be proud, not only have they made a friend for life but they’ve painted a picture of a community that will last forever.

Steve Rogers is the news reporter for the Daily Times Leader. The views expressed in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the newspaper or its staff.