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Last Friday night's t-ballers lined up on the bleachers for a special "get well" portrait for Coach Jimmy (Photo by Matt Minde)

Last Friday night's t-ballers lined up on the bleachers for a special "get well" portrait for Coach Jimmy (Photo by Matt Minde)

Guest Blog: Win One for Coach Jimmy!

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Follow this link to read Geneva Gano’s article on Friday night’s t-ball and view the photo gallery below.

As many of you likely now know, our beloved Coach Jimmy sustained a serious head injury after a fall recently at Ellis Pond. He has been in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit at Kettering Medical Center, recuperating from brain surgery there, and was in a medically induced coma and has made tremendous progress, given the severity of his injury and the short time that has passed.

His wife, Robin, and daughter, Adrienne, have been touched by the outpouring of love, prayers and support that have been sent to the three of them since the community first heard about the accident. In one update from Robin she said, “We are deeply touched by all the love and good wishes coming in from across the country and even from abroad. Jimmy drew great strength from his relationships with all of you, and we feel surrounded by grace. He can’t have visitors or calls, but we will share all your messages with him when he is ready to receive them. Thank you. He can’t have visitors or calls, but we will share all your messages with him when he is ready to receive them. Thank you.”

If you know Jimmy Chesire, you know that you’d be hard pressed to find a more generous and compassionate soul. He loves, and lives, fully. He also thoroughly enjoys working with kids and relates to them so wonderfully. He has been coaching Perry League t-ball and writing the sweetest game recaps each week for quite some time now. It’s a long standing and well-loved tradition here in Yellow Springs.

As soon as the news was out on what had happened a number of us had two immediate responses: “Please let this terrific human being be okay,” and “T-ball must go on. Coach Jimmy will only worry about his kids if we don’t.”

And so, last Friday night, a good sized crowd of 60 or so big and little people gathered to play the game they love and to honor the coach they love even more.

I talked to villager Carrie Campbell for a recap of this week’s action. She and her husband, Aaron, are often at the games with their crew of sweet kiddos. Their daughter Mia has been a Perry League t-baller for a number of years and I’m sure their little one Owen will be doing his very best to swing a bat this time next summer.

Here’s what Carrie had to say about Friday night:

“There was a great turnout. … We had a table set up and the kids glued pics of themselves and families to a big poster board with a heart in the middle that had a pic of Jimmy. There were more posters and many cards drawn with love for Coach.

We had our normal warm ups and Amy [Boblitt] led the team in 5,387 jumping jacks, toe touches and ‘crawling around two other human beings,’ just like Jimmy does every week. We had great parent participation with batting and outfield. This week we had balls coming from the first base line and from third. Plenty of balls to throw back in for everyone.

A big thanks to Robin [Suits] and my sister [Erin Hankie] and mom [Diana Hankie] for getting us the tee, bases, bats, balls and first aid kit]. [Special thanks also to] Erin for the card idea, Amy for getting there early and taking the lead of coach, Becky for the sales table and the other dads and moms for helping out.”

For those interested, there’s a Perry League t-ball page that Erin Hankie, another t-ball mama, started. Much like Carrie, Erin can be seen most weeks with her three terrific kids enjoying all of the fun the Perry League has to offer and helping out wherever it’s needed. She felt the Facebook page would be a great place to stay in contact about game logistics, updates on Coach Jimmy, sharing photos, etc. I couldn’t agree more!  Also, I have to add in a special “thank you” to Steve Bognar, who showed up Friday with camera in hand and made an adorable video; just over six minutes of love and goodness for Coach Jimmy.

Perhaps I should briefly share how I came to get involved with the Perry League. I grew up in Yellow Springs (YSHS class of 95), and my younger brother used to play t-ball. I also went to school with Jimmy’s daughter, Adrienne, and knew her fun-loving dad through a few casual encounters in high school. My mom, Alicia, and stepdad, Ray, also knew Jimmy via their shared Wright State connection. My husband and I lived out in Colorado for several years and moved back to the area in 2008. We started a family soon after and our almost 4-year-old daughter is enjoying her second season of t-ball.

It’s wonderful to be a part of this special tradition and to see the second generation of my family enjoying it now. Like many of us, I love both the beauty of the game and the spirit in which it is played. Then the experience is made that much more special by reading Jimmy’s beautiful tribute to that week’s game in the Yellow Springs News. I revisited some old t-ball articles I’d loved and was moved as I read over this passage from the season’s first t-ball article, one that carries even more heartwarming meaning now:

Wyatt Fagan, 4, fields his first ball, but will not throw it to me. He walks it up to me instead. “Okay,” I say and as he offers it to me, but he does not let go of it until I have heard and understood what he has to say.
And it is this:
“You are my coach.”
“What?” I say. And he repeats it, slowly, carefully. “You are my coach. You are my coach.”
We hold the ball together. We stand between the pitcher mound and home plate.
He is deadly serious. This is a declaration of note. It should be written down.
“You are my coach.”
“Okay,” I say, taking this seriously. “I am your coach. I am. Thank you.”

Yes, you are, Coach Jimmy. You are Wyatt’s coach. You’re my daughter Maddy’s (aka Peanuts) coach.  You are the coach to each and every child who shows up to play each Friday. And so, too, are you coaching, modeling and mentoring us all.

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