The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK


February 16, 2014

Boys of Summer: Two stories that deserve to be told


‘There wasn’t a dry eye’

“We held “Maverick Day” on sophomore day,” Ballard said. Sophomore day is the equivalent of senior day for junior colleges.

“We spray painted an ‘M’ on the field,” Ballard said. “We gave him a team shirt with No. 1 — nobody else wears No. 1.”

NOC Enid head baseball coach Raydon Leaton and the Jets’ baseball team signed a ball and presented it to Maverick.

“People from Enid came up and expressed their support and offered contributions, which we are accepting to offset the medical costs,” Ballard said.

Then the big moment arrived.

Maverick, with assistance, strode out to the pitcher’s mound, and with dad at his side, stared in to the catcher, and in one throw, for one glorious moment, all the pain and all the ordeals were forgotten as he delivered the opening pitch on “Maverick Day.”

“It was one of the most moving days I have experienced,” Ballard said. “There wasn’t a dry eye.”

Jayme said the family was “overwhelmed with the entire program’s generosity.”

Maverick even got to run the bases with the team afterward.

Sooner Nation

From Tonkawa to Enid to Norman, Maverick has made an impact.

He even caught the attention of the folks at the University of Oklahoma and met head football coach Bob Stoops during OU’s April spring practice.

“They gave us the grand tour, and let us mosey about taking pictures,” Jamey said. “Coach Stoops even called over his guys to take a pic with Mav.”

The OU basketball team, led by head coach Lon Kruger, accompanied by players Ryan Spangler, Tyler Neal and D.J. Bennett, also paid him a visit while he was in the hospital.

Cancer-free ... ‘A Godsend’

At his last periodic checkup, Maverick was cancer free. He’s also had his lines taken out, and his hair is growing back.

“He’s beyond tough, he’s a pillar,” Ballard said. “He’s a great inspiration for our team. He calls the team ‘my boys,’ as in, ‘they’re my boys.’”

“The Tonkawa Mavericks have continued to love and treat us as family,” Jayme said. “They keep everyone updated on our Maverick’s status on the website ... and still send us videos wishing Mav good luck before an inpatient treatment and sometimes just to give encouragement.” 

“He’s part of the family,” Ballard said. “With a name like Maverick, what could go wrong? It’s been wonderful, a Godsend.

“It is amazing what people will do to put a smile on a sick kid’s face,” Jayme said.

Judging by the reaction of those he has come in contact with, it’s equally amazing how many smiles a sick boy can put on the faces of those he has touched.

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