I found this picture tonight, and it reminded me of what is REALLY important. Last May, Nick's travel baseball team, the Central Kentucky Legends, played the Crittenden County Rockets in a tournament in Owensboro. It was May 23... the day after Nick turned 13. He stepped up to the plate, and hit his first grand slam. What a belated birthday gift! (Especially for his mom, dad, aunt and uncle!) Later that summer, we played them again. Not long afterwards, we got an email. The Rockets' shortstop, Jake Hodges, had died in his sleep. It hit all of us like a ton of bricks. He hadn't been hit by a line drive... no heart condition... he simply died in his sleep. I still cry when I think about. It was entirely too close to home. My heart breaks when I think about what his family, his friends, his teammates and his coaches have been through. To my knowledge, no reason was ever found. To paraphrase his parents, it was simply time for Jake to go "home." Ironically enough, it was a week or two before his death that Jake hit HIS first grand slam. I will never forget #11... and I don't think Nick will, either. On the Monday following Jake's death, we had a moment of silence in his memory at Nick's baseball game. Minutes later, Nick found a sharpie and wrote God Bless CC Rockets #11 on his helmet. He shouldn't have done it... there isn't supposed to be any writing on the helmets... but then again, 13 year old boys aren't supposed to die in their sleep. Nick made his mama proud that night. We won't forget Jake Hodges. When you hear the crack of a bat, or throw a baseball... say a prayer for those whose lives will never be the same again.