Visit to hospital gives Vikings different perspective

Published 10:00 am Thursday, February 6, 2014

WC hospital visit

In any sport, it is easy to get caught up in the results — win and losses — rather than the Zen-like process of focusing on doing your best on every snap, pitch or possession. Take each journey one step at a time, do it the right way, all of the time and the results will take care of themselves.
But even more glaring is that we get so sucked into the thrill of competition that we forget there is a world outside the lines.
Warren Central’s baseball team has done the normal offseason schedule. The Vikings have lifted weights, conditioned and worked on their hitting with the season just weeks away.
However, on Tuesday, the Vikings visited the Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital in Jackson and saw a different side of life.
The team met children dealing with horrific ailments such as cancer and observed a different perspective. They saw their problems were miniscule compared to those of children to whom tomorrow wasn’t promised and pain is a way of life. Imagine not even being able to wake up and tie your shoes without help.
“It’s a humbling experience for them,” WC coach Conner Douglas said. “It makes them realize that the problems they think they have, girlfriends, classroom stuff or them striking out, are minute compared to the problems those kids face everyday.”
The Vikings learned powerful lessons about life and gave some very sick children a reason to smile in the process. They played video games and a game of Janga with a boy who couldn’t wait for that pile of bricks to topple so he could laugh at the sight.
“It made us put life in perspective and how lucky we’ve got it,” WC outfielder Hunter Bell said. “You might go out here one game, 0-for-3, two strikeouts, but this is a great life. It made me feel good to wake up, knowing I live a normal life. This one little boy, in there with a bunch of girls, hadn’t had any guys come and play with him and you could see his eyes light up.”
The visit wasn’t the only community project the Vikings have accomplished, with more to come. They helped in October with the Over the River Run and next Christmas, Douglas wants his team to participate in the Angel Tree program as well. He feels it’s a thank-you to all in the community who’ve helped add to the WC baseball complex and a way to help build character for his players in addition to baseball skills.
“Ever since I got this job, I’ve wanted us to get involved with the community,” Douglas said. “Last year, I got caught up in the baseball part rather than developing these kids as citizens and people. I want to develop them as role models, involved in the community and not just focusing on baseball and their own lives.”
While memories of this upcoming season will fade, this is something that will stick with these young men for a long time.
And they’ll be better for it.

Steve Wilson is sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. You can follow him on Twitter at vpsportseditor. He can be reached at 601-636-4545, ext. 142 or at swilson@vicksburgpost.com.