SAN DIEGO -- Rarely do children find themselves on a baseball field getting tips and hands-on coaching from professional players. But that’s exactly how dozens of lucky military kids spent their day at Petco Park, San Diego, June 24, 2014.
Service members and their families, many from I Marine Expeditionary Force, were invited to the annually held baseball clinic which gave participants a free, unique and engaging way to build stronger relationships, develop their athletic abilities and show support for all who serve.
“Playing on the field, meeting and working with the players is an experience you can’t find in many places,” said Lisa Sherwood, the wife of a Marine serving with I MEF. “I love baseball and so does my son, so when we heard about the Padres clinic it seemed like the perfect way to spend the day.”
The clinic started two years ago with the goal of highlighting the children of service members while giving them a way to break up the monotony of day-to-day life, said Sarah Farnsworth, a public affairs representative with the Padres.
“It’s important to remember how hard it is for military families at times when a parent is deployed,” said Farnsworth. "I think that the clinic helps to show the families that we appreciate the sacrifices that they make. The Padres love to show their support for the military and military families, so anything that we can do for them is our pleasure.”
A short jog and a few stretches, led by Padres’ players, helped get the 100 children and teens, ages 8-14, get warmed up before they split into three groups and headed off to separate stations. Each station was led by a player from the Padres where they coached the participants on batting, fielding and pitching.
After a few hours of play on the field, the families were served lunch and got a chance to relax and converse with the players and each other.
“Watching all of the kids out on the field with the Padres was an amazing experience but it was also fantastic to see so many people from the community come out, support one another and even make new friends,” said Sherwood.
At the end of the lunch event organizers thanked the families that came out and helped to make the clinic a success, but more importantly they thanked the families for their continued support and commitment to the country.