For the love of the game… and a teammate.

bballI can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

The BT varsity baseball team recently had a chance to make a tremendous impact…and it wasn’t even on the field.

The team, under the tutelage of Head Coach Andy Harlin, traveled to Big Shanty Baseball Park  in Kennesaw to support freshman Jack Milani, their  varsity team manager. Jack helps coach a 14U FCA travel baseball team and was going to serve as head coach for this particular tournament. When he mentioned to Coach Harlin he would not be able to attend practice on an upcoming Saturday,  Coach Harlin completely understood and wished him luck.

Little did Jack know the entire team would be coming out to support him during his coaching debut. “Coach Harlin reached out to me to ask if it would be okay for the team to come support Jack and really wanted to surprise him,” said Susan Milani, Jack’s mom. “I was overwhelmed!”

Just before game time, while Coach Jack was contemplating his strategy for the game,  he looked toward the entrance of the park – there in full BT baseball attire came the varsity team. For a moment, he didn’t know what to do and was at a loss for words (which doesn’t happen often for Jack). When he fully realized what was happening, he humbly, and thankfully, went to greet the team. “I was very surprised when I saw all the green and gold, and then saw that it was my team,” said Jack. “I was obviously very happy and thankful that the team was using their Saturday morning coming to the tournament instead of sleeping.”

According to Coach Harlin, attending Jack’s tournament was an easy decision to make. “Early in the year, Jack offered to go scout some teams we were playing in non-region games.  He sat out there in freezing cold temps, did a detailed scouting report and send it out to all the players and coaches on google drive,” he remembered. “He knows baseball and did a great job with that, not to mention how huge he is video taping practices and games.  We knew we wanted to be there to support him after all he’s already done for us.  He’s all in. I know our players thought it was really cool to see him coaching his team.”

Although Jack cannot play baseball, his muscular dystrophy makes running and sliding difficult, he enjoys managing on the BT team and now coaching. “I do it because I love coaching and showing others who may think baseball is boring and slow. I love being able to teach them. ”

The Titans helped with the game by volunteering to run the scoreboard and lead the stands in cheers. They were there to support their team member the best way they knew how…just to show their love and respect for someone who truly loves the game of baseball. Their mere presence that day made such an impact. Parents and players alike noticed and came up to them asking why the BT baseball team was at the tournament.Their response…to support their friend, Coach Jack.”We look at Jack as one of our brothers and we will do anything for him,” said BT senior Jacob Bogosian. “He does so much for our team that going to his game was the least we could do for him. While we were at his game it was great to see him in his element as he was doing what he loves. ”

Jack’s love for the game of baseball is truly genuine, said Coach Harlin. “I mean that with all sincerity.  He genuinely loves it.  He brings loyalty, in the form you can see.  He’s always smiling, always wanting to help.  The players see that and they know his number one thing is our team so he is every bit a part of our team as anybody.”

“This is the Christ-like behavior we all pray for as parents in our children,” said Mrs. Milani. “In a world where it can be difficult to see goodness, we are so blessed to be able to say we just need to look to our kids. Thank you Coach Harlin and the varsity baseball team for setting such a great example. We can all strive to look for goodness if we live our lives knowing that our strength comes from Him.”