At nine wins, 13 losses, the defending state 5A baseball champion Timberline (Boise, Idaho)
Eagles are enduring sort of a rough season.
But Wednesday, the home crowd cheered louder and with more enthusiasm than they have since they hoisted the championship trophy last season. That's because on this day they got to lift team manager Eddie Gordon
on their shoulders.
The baseball diamond at Timberline turned into Gordon's personal field of dreams as the senior, born with Down syndrome, was made honorary team captain, batted leadoff and then rounded the bases after making contact with a pitch.
When he crossed home plate, with a capacity crowd cheering wildly, he was mobbed by teammates, lifted on their shoulders and carried from the field.
Timberline coach Larry Price arranged the moment on senior day with the help from Centennial coach Brian Champion and his team.
"My sincere appreciation goes to (Centennial) for being a part of this, to be all in," Price said. "It speaks volume about them and their coach Brian Champion."
Said senior Parker Price
: "I've never been so excited going into a game."
The Wolves stayed excited after "Fast Eddie's" moment, going on to a 13-3 win in a game stopped after five innings due to the mercy rule.
Price, who invited Gordon to be the team manager last season, said Eddie has been a vital part of the team's inner growth. Their relationship and the impact Eddie has made on the team is shared in this superb piece written by Idaho Statesmen
reporter Trevor Phibbs.
"He's a unique young man, and he's got so many things to give to other people," Price told Phibbs. "He brings something new everyday, and once you meet him, you fall in love with his heart. ... He's just a phenomenal person — he's Mr. Timberline."
More important, according to Eddie's mother Becky Gordon, have been the changes to her son's emotional and mental makeup.
"My son grew leaps and bounds developmentally, not just self esteem — his language increased," she said. "They don't understand the impact they've had."