Baseball is a game of failure. Striking out seven out of 10 times means a million dollar contract and a long career. Those who play the game cannot be afraid of failing, and they can never, ever quit.
Maybe that is why they are joining hands to help fight one of the hardest battles the world has ever seen. One that has a similar success rate: breast cancer.
On Friday at 6 p.m., City Park will be overflowing with pink. Headed by head coach Nick Childs, the CSU baseball team is dedicating their game to breast cancer awareness, for the second year in a row.
“Everyone knows somebody who has been affected by cancer,” Childs said. “I want to use the platform that we have to raise money. We may not have the greatest awareness because we are a club sport, but we still have the opportunity to put on a good show and raise money for a really good cause.”
Last year, on a cold, blustery day, the team raised $4,500, and every single cent went to the Cancer League of Colorado for breast cancer research. This year, with the forecast promising sunny blue skies, and a bunch of goods up for auction, Childs hopes to double that amount.
During the off season, he also encouraged his players to help pay their dues by teaching local children how to play baseball, something he and coach Brian Dilley do year round.
“As a team, we have really been trying to increase our reputation in the community,” Childs said. “When you build relationships like that, people want to help you out.”
As for the team, this is the game the Rams look forward to the most. With fall being the season of skill-work, conditioning and roster cuts it helps to put the game in perspective, and give back to the community in a big way.
“It’s more than just a game for us,” senior first basemen Brad Spies said. “To help out a cause like breast cancer is something that’s pretty special. I think this fundraiser makes sense to everybody.”
For Childs, it was a no-brainer. Within his family, he has had more than his fair-share of experience with the deadly disease, and he doesn’t miss an opportunity to fight back. But for him, it’s like pitching a piece of his heart from the mound and hoping for a grand slam.
“I take so much pride in the event, and I get so nervous before it happens that it’s hard to sit back and enjoy it,” he says. “But nerves just mean I care. And seeing the results is so rewarding. Knowing that you may have made an impact on someone’s life – that’s why we are doing this.”
Striking out seven out of 10 times doesn’t sound like success. But if one of those 10 balls sails over the fence, it is celebrated. Surviving cancer is harder than hitting a home run and maybe it happens less often. But if Childs hits even one ball over the fence on Friday, it will feel like success.
Sports writer Cali Rastrelli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.