Besides football, baseball brings a bit of nostalgia meaning for me. I played tee-ball & hit my first (& only ever home run), and then played baseball until girls no longer played on the coed team. I lived in a small town that didn't have softball at my age. And, my hero, my daddy coached baseball.
The familiarity I felt as I stepped onto the field today brought me back to my childhood. Only thing was there were no flowers out in the outfield for me to be picking. It's what all 5-year-olds do in the shortstop position, right!?!
As I stepped out onto the field today it was a whole different game. A game that took a different direction. It's a story that was already destined for a win, but then...
When you take that stance on home plate across from pitcher Connor Furst make sure you're ready...
As I took up my spot to snap a few photos across from Connor on the pitcher's mound, I only knew a portion of what was being pitched in my direction.
Little did I know that it would be Connor that would be knocking it out of the ballpark. A pitcher with an amazing story... Sit back, grab your tissues & be ready to have a dose of an amazing story of an incredible young man.
Let's back up a day or two... Throughout this crazy life event of the coronavirus, I knew I wanted to do something to help give back to our community. I decided that I'd offer to photograph families from their front porch or outside on their property. All donation-based, I take a couple of quick photos, they donate & I purchase gift certificates from local restaurants to help families that need meals. A triple win (a grand slam in baseball terms) - families get a photo, donations help support local business & a family is fed.
I posted about it on my Facebook page. I immediately had interest, but one that came through from a friend that was telling me that her son wanted to donate money to help with the project. We spoke on the phone, & I knew immediately I wanted to feature Connor here. His story is a beacon of light that I can only hope will touch others the way it touched me.
Please note: we kept within the social distancing rules. All photos were used with my zoom lens, and we maintained the appropriate distance. All of the questions/answers were done through messaging. #doingourpart #allin
Shall we get to know Connor?
Connor is a Junior at Cornwall Central High School that plays varsity baseball for the Cornwall Dragons as well as a summer team as a pitcher. Connor wants to play baseball after high school for a college. Right now his top school of choice is Springfield College.
At what age did you start playing baseball? I’ve been playing baseball forever it feels like. I starting playing tee-ball, and working my way up to where I am now.
Life has taken this strange turn of events. You’re finding yourself at home isolated from your friends, from school, and potentially for longer than we all anticipated. This means that the spring sport that you play is most likely not going to have a season this year. How do you feel about that? Obviously, it’s frustrating for me to not be able to play baseball this spring, more because the weather this year allowed us to get on the field earlier than normal. Now the virus may even take the whole season from us. It’s no fun when the thing you have been working for is on the verge of just being taken away from you. There's nothing you can do about it but hope somehow that we can fit games in. Almost my whole school year has been after school with the team in the weight room getting ready for this season. In January we started to practice after basketball games every week putting in work to get better. It sucks!
Through this unprecedented event, the coronavirus, how are you dealing on a daily basis with staying positive? To be honest I’m really ok with the learning part of school. I find it easier to log on every day, get your work done and boom it's done. Also, I love being able to sleep in, but obviously going to school every day is what’s best for everyone. I stay positive by always thinking it could be worse and just think about doing the best I can with the situation that is, unfortunately, happening right now.
Besides being a teenager going to school & baseball practice, do you work? I do have a job as a busboy/dishwasher at a local restaurant and enjoy working. My bosses are amazing and all the other staff is really just so nice.
Now that we’re being asked to stay home & only essential workers go to work, along with only delivery/curbside pick up. You are continuing with doing deliveries & helping out.
You originally tried to not take a check, but your employer said no... So you had this idea that you wanted to give back the money you make at your job for others to have a takeout meal. Why’d you decide to do that? And/Or how’d the idea come to your mind that you wanted to do that? Yes, I continued to work, and when all this happened I wanted to do it for free. I live with my parents, I am a teenager I don’t need the money. When my boss paid me I tried to refuse it, and told her to give it to someone else who needs it more than I do like someone who needs to pay rent, buy food for their families, etc. It was hard for me to take the money and to think it’s just gonna sit there when someone else needs it more then I do. I tried refusing my pay another time, and after that, I decided I wanted to actually do something with it. I talked to my mom about what I could do and how could I help other people who needed the money. I am so fortunate to live and be raised by my parents who have always taught me to always do the right thing & to be respectful, like holding the door for others, using my manners, etc. Because of the way they raised me, they didn’t even have to tell me to refuse the check. I already knew that I wanted to refuse it. My mom & I talked for a couple nights about it, and the ways I could do something. She told me she could contact you and maybe you could help after reading your post on Facebook. There are other people out there who need that money to do those things for not just them, but their kids or maybe an elder living with them also.
Wow, Connor what an incredibly selfless act!! An amazing way to give back to the community. I know your parents must be so very proud of you.
Queue.. grab your tissues if you haven't already!
If there’s one thing about yourself you’d like others to know, what would it be? One thing I want everyone to know is to just do the right thing. Think of people who need something more then you do. Obviously not just give up everything you have, but simple acts of kindness go a long way with people. You never know what other people are going through because they don’t express it. It’s really a hard thing for me to talk about, but most people may or may not know I have depression. I have had suicidal thoughts and even had to go to a hospital for 3 days in September. Everything has been getting better, and I’m on medicine to help along with seeing a therapist every week. Most people would be afraid to talk about it, but I’ve grown to not be scared about it. Mental Illness is a serious thing that can really affect a person and his/her family. Just doing one or two nice things for others can help someone who is not in a good place & to just feel better. It could even save people’s lives. It's these little things that make me want to do stuff like this, to make other people’s lives a little bit better the best I can.
Connor, I can't thank you enough for doing this! It takes more than just a special person to want to give back. Without blinking an eye, you are ready to give your hard-earned money in order to help others. But, your selfless kindness is deeper than that. Your positive light shines bright & you are the beacon of hope to many. Your story means more than just that..it's more than just a story. Thank you for being the person you are, for putting yourself out there for others to know we all have a purpose & for doing this feature with me during such a trying time for all of us.
I didn't know Connor's story before today. I certainly wasn't prepared for the pitch from the mound. Even though he was pitching, he's the one that hit a grand slam right out of the ballpark! The amount of tears that ran down my face while reading his text with his answers to my question could fill a bucket. I hope this story brings some meaning to you, for it to touch your life the way it touched mine & to remember we're all going through battles of our own. I am incredibly proud & blessed that Connor came into my life under the circumstance of both of us wanting to give back to our community.
You're a special young man Connor Furst! Keep letting that light shine bright, you ARE a beacon of hope for many!
With much love, peace & happiness