KELLER (CBSDFW.COM) - Spend any time at a girls softball tournament and right off the bat you’ll see they’re a tight-knit community.
They share the same fields. They cheer each other on. And even though they’re competitors, they’re a big family.
But there are members of the softball family missing from Keller’s tournament this weekend: The players from Moore, Oklahoma.
“Two of the teams we played about two weeks ago in Ardmore were from Moore,” said Jeff DeSario, assistant coach of the Keller Bandits, a girls softball team. “One of the teams was supposed to be here in our tournament this weekend and they couldn’t be here, obviously, because of the tragedy.”
In fact, one of the players from Oklahoma, 9-year old Sydney Angle, died in the EF-5 tornado that destroyed Moore.
It especially affected 13-year old Maddy Holder who plays for the Bandits.
“I put myself in their shoes and so, I wanted to do something for them,” Holder said. “Because if my softball fields got destroyed I would want somebody to help me.”
So, Holder decided to step up to the plate — off the diamond. And she asked all her rivals to join her team to help out.
Holder’s team set up a booth and asked players to remember the teams who can’t play. They adorned the booth with hand made signs with slogan’s like “Remember Sydney” and “Rally Around Moore.” The signs had pictures of devastation left behind after the tornadoes and photos of Angle.
And the softball family responded. Their uniforms were different colors, some had just finished playing the other team in spirited games. But they all stopped by the makeshift fund raiser and paused to look at the signs. And they donated hundreds of dollars and signed cards and posters to send to their comrades in Moore.
“Anyone who has a family — its a real emotional time,” DeSario said. “And this is our way of giving back. It may not be much but the little things in life make a difference.”
And in return, Holder learned a lesson.
“Yeah,” Holder said. “To always be thankful for everything.”
At this softball tournament, players could stop and remember that sometimes, outside the chalked lines, sports can create something far more special than just a game.
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