June 22, 2011
(OMAHA) - The Cal baseball team brightened the day for several patients and their parents at the Omaha Children's Hospital and Medical Center on Wednesday when they visited the facility for the second time this week.
"It's nice to get a chance to come see some kids that are less fortunate than us," said head coach David Esquer. "I'm so proud of my team. You really learn even more about your team when you see how they treat other people and maybe those that are in lesser circumstances than they are. I think our kids really realize what they have. I'm proud of them to see them give their time and feel good about it. They are excited to be here and it's great for us."
Players, coaches and staff members of the Golden Bears spent time visiting the rooms of patients, signing autographs, playing a little catch, sharing lots of laughs and just conversing with them about life.
The highlight of the second visit came when the members of the Cal team delivered a game ball from their win Tuesday over Texas A&M to a child named Elliott, who proceeded to light up the room when he flashed his contagious ear-to-ear smile when his new friends arrived with baseball in hand.
"We got to see 10 or so kids that are fighting through much worse conditions than we could ever imagine," said Tony Renda after the team's first visit on Monday. "It's inspirational. They fight every single day for their health. Sometimes we don't see it, but there are more important things than baseball. These kids don't have the chance to play. We're just so fortunate that we have the chance to come out every single day and play the game of baseball, which is something that we love to do. We could be in those kids' shoes but God had a different plan for us."
"The kids here are the true heroes," added Justin Jones. "Sure, people think we're inspirations but what they do by holding on and fighting for their health, and we're just here playing baseball, when it comes down to it they're the true heroes and true inspirations to us."
Parents and children were grateful and surprised upon the return visit by the Bears. Most said they had watched Cal's victory over Texas A&M the previous day and were planning to root for their adopted home team Thursday in a CWS elimination game against top national seed Virginia.
"I think we may have picked up a few more fans," said Esquer with a smile.