We met because our children played in the same basketball league. My son and his daughter were on a team where the coach was stretched too thin. I volunteered my older daughters as coaches and every week we tried to be there for extra support and practice.
One game stands out in my memory. The opposing team had ringers and parents so focused on winning that they badgered and heckled our team.
I approached one of the league officials and asked her to intervene. She refused.
Our kids lost and we comforted them with words about how hard they had played and how unfair it all was.
Now it just seems like a metaphor for all that was yet to come.
It was at his youngest child’s birthday party that I saw what at the time was one of E’s distinctive “celebrity” qualities—he used his pitcher’s arm to lob a beach ball into the splash pad pour bucket—ball, plunk, fill, pour, repeat. The crowd of summer park goers reveled his ability to beguile and entertain.
At the time I took his boyish self-confidence as the contributing factor—he had an athletic gift and had been praised and admired for it for years.
Why not use it for harmless fun?
I look through all of this with grief and anger now. All I did not see or understand about him that day, who he had been for years, and what was to come.
Over a year ago we found out that a family we knew had been devastated when they discovered that their child had been the victim of rape at the hands of a former MLB pitcher.
The rapes were recorded and shared. There is strong anecdotal evidence that other children were harmed this way as well.
The local police bullied and intimidated the victim, made no arrest, and closed the case.
As did CPS.
The FBI ignored requests for help as did the office of DPS and the Texas Rangers.
Oh, and President Biden too.
I have begun to think about Martin Luther and letters pasted on the walls and doors of cathedrals.
What would you say or do if you were haunted by the damage done to one child? Dozens?