I have a son named Cooper. He and I love to go to baseball games. It’s our most favorite thing to do. I’d love to get a game ball for Cooper some day. We sit in the bleachers together enjoying our time together, chatting with like minded fans around us, and Coop begs an outfielder to flip him a ball. He just wants a souvenir from a real live Major Leaguer. What kid doesn’t?
Prior to Thursday, July 7th, 2011, the preceding paragraph could have been written by me or a Texas Dad named Shannon Stone.
By now, almost anyone reading this post knows the tragedy that occurred at the Texas Rangers baseball game on Thursday night. 39-year old Shannon Stone attempts to catch a ball thrown into the stands by Outfielder Josh Hamilton. Ball finds his glove, but his momentum carries him over the railing crashing to the concrete 20-feet below. Stone dies on the way to the hospital. 6-year old Cooper is left without a father.
I, first, heard the news when my sobbing mother called to tell me this morning on my commute to work. I heard the entire story while listening to ESPN Radio. Then, I cried to myself as I drove for the next hour.
All day, I kept thinking about Cooper: My blond-headed best friend … and Cooper Stone, the 6-year old who just wanted to have fun with HIS best friend, his daddy, at a ball game. His Dad bought him a new ball glove on the way to the game. Coop was wearing a Josh Hamilton jersey. It was all set to be the perfect night for these two best buddies (Dad and Son).
Coop, I feel for you little man. There are no words I can write to explain why something like this happens. I’m not going to get all holy here, but I believe in the big fella upstairs, and I’m wondering if God took the night off last night. Despicable, unthinkable unimaginable, inexplicable things take place everyday, but this just seems so pointless. Yes, there are zillions of examples of pointless acts of tragedy, but for some reason, this one is like a fastball to the gut. A dad and his boy at a ballgame. Dad catches his son a memory. And, that’s where this story should have ended…the two go home, show mom their ball and put up posters of Josh Hamilton all over Coop’s bedroom. Instead, there’s not a dry eyed father in the stands tonight at a ballgame; most notably the Dad playing outfield for the Texas Rangers.
I’m going to go watch a game with my boy now. I love him so much. I ache for 6-year old Cooper Stone. I’m so sorry little guy. I’m just so incredibly sorry for you and your mommy.
Daddy of another baseball fan named Cooper