We all get just one. Some are good, others bad. For most of us we coast through life hopping over and going around life’s obstacles. We roll with the punches; we stand up taller; learn from our mistakes; and usually become a better person in the process. Sometimes life’s tragedies lead us into our own trouble and poor decision-making. Life becomes a mess; becomes a blur. We hope to overcome it, straighten back up, learn from our mistakes, and maybe teach someone along the way about your failures and troubles to help the next guy out.
Then there are times life throws a punch so hard; you can’t get back up on your own. You are seeing everything blurry; thoughts are unclear and scrambled; head hurts, emotions are running wild; anger, sadness, confusion, feeling a lone and hopeless, where do you turn for help?
You turn to those closest to you; someone nearby, anyone, anyone that is willing to lend a helping hand. You’re laying flat on your back reaching up, earnestly searching for help.
The person who is there to help you will never be forgotten. They were the ones who sacrificed time and energy to pick you up out of one of the lowest points in your life. They have become something more than just a person, a friend, a teammate, a classmate, a fellow employee,…they have become something much closer; something similar to a family member.
Leroy Wiffle started out a few years back (2014) as a simple game in the middle of Nowhere, Indiana. It was guys’ night. A night for letting some steam out, a night to break up the work week, a night for some plain and simple hootin’ and hollerin’. Smack talk and laughing was a for sure each night. Wednesday night everyone would show up, we would play a couple games of wiffle, say good game to each other, and head home with the occasional burnout of course! Yes, some of us were friends before the league started, and would talk here and there throughout the week, maybe play some cards, or grab some beers on the weekend, but for the most part wiffleball was just wiffleball; it was just a small portion of our weekly routine.
Over the years I have noticed change. This league is slowly becoming more than just a season of entertainment through the game of wiffleball. I’m not talking about league growth and out status among other leagues. I’m not talking about regional and national tournaments and how well we do at these events. Yes, the league has doubled in size since the first year; the fields are looking way better than they did; the equipment we use and our social media presence, everything is better than it used to be, but I’m not talking about all of that.
I’m talking about the growth in the guys that show up. Im talking about high-schoolers going to college. College guys graduating. Graduates getting jobs, becoming accountants, doctors, engineers. Guys getting married having kids and becoming men and fathers. I’m talking about relationships that we have with one another. Those are the changes I see year after year and those are the changes that I hope continue to grow stronger.
Honestly, and from the heart, I’m not in love with game of wiffleball. I played that first year (2014) and enjoyed myself. It was fun and I was decent at it compared to a lot of the others. I liked hanging out, but at the end of the day I was like “eh, I could do with out”. I finished the year and then skipped the entire next year (2015), and it didn’t even bother me. I had no passion for the game, and no desire to go back. I didn’t miss it until a friend reached out and asked if would come back. Tim Wiltjer wanted me back. Our friendship had kind of fizzled out after college graduation in 2012 and was sparked up briefly in that first year of wiffle, but again faded after I skipped the entire second season. For the third season (2016) I went back. I went back only for a friend; to be a friend and to have a friend; to support a friend and his passion with this league.
Guys, truth is I only play this game to be a friend and have a friend. I don’t like wiffleball. I like being competitive, I like running around, and I like socializing. I enjoy working on grounds committee and helping out when needed because it is for betterment of the league. I’m not good at wiffle, I swing the bat with terrible form, I strike out the most in the entire league, I pitch very inconsistently, and after seeing video I run super goofy. What I enjoy most is everything this league stands for besides the actual game, and that’s the truth whole-heartedly.
So back to the part about lying flat on your back, dazed and confused, angered and hopeless, after being punched in the face by the shitty thing called life.
Imagine this with me please. You’re a father, your children have grown up, moved out of the house, and have started their own families. Your have worked a full career, 30 years plus, as a fire fighter. Your job was moving toward danger on a daily basis. Saving lives and putting out fires was the goal. Running into a building while others ran out.
Now, you’re recently retired and enjoying the relaxation of life. Your new job title is now Grandpa! And then life crushes you….
STAGE 4 LUNG CANCER
After spending an entire career helping others and saving lives, now you’re the one in need of help.
Andy Rasala Sr., father of Marty Rasala (Diamond Dusters Owner), got crushed by life a couple weeks ago. Time came to a screeching halt when he heard this news; a retired fire fighter in need of some serious help, serious prayer, serious love, and serious support.
The family is unsure of what the exact treatment will be and when the treatment will start. Assuming treatment is chemo and radiation, Mr. Rasala’s body is going to under go some unbelievable stress. His body is going to become weak, and after physical weakness, mentally and spiritually he will be weakened.
The Rasala family has teamed up with Blythe’s Sports Shop and designed t-shirts and sweatshirt. The money raised will go to the Rasala family.
This is the scenario I can see happening if we, as a brotherhood, come together for one of our family members…
Mr. Rasala goes into treatment the first week headstrong and hopeful. By the second or third week he loses some physical strength and also begins losing personal hope. In his mind he is thinking how much longer he can take this, how much longer can I handle such agonizing treatments?
This is where I envision Leroy Wiffle making a difference. Back to the same scenario…
Marty goes to the hospital…
Marty: how are you feeling today, Dad?
Mr. Rasala: Not good, son. Everything hurts, I’m so sick and feel miserable.
Marty: I got some good news, Dad, we sold almost 60 t-shirts today!
Mr. Rasala: What!!! To who???
Marty: Dad, the entire Leroy Wiffle League. Every single person bought a shirt.
56 people are thinking about you.
56 people are praying for you.
56 people are out there wearing a shirt for you!
Guys, something so small, so simple, like buying a shirt can make a huge difference. As a group, as a league, as a brotherhood, we can lift the spirits of Mr. Rasala. The support we show may give him enough hope and strength to get through each treatment.
Whether you know Marty or not, whether you know Mr. Rasala or not, it doesn’t matter. What really matters is BROTHERHOOD.