Apr 5 / Rob

This Sunday is Justin Brown Day at Veterans Memorial Park (corrected)

Veterans Memorial Park, site of Justin Brown Day

Sorry folks, I mixed up the dates. Please see the changes below and a special thanks to Kevin for pointing out the mistake. We’ve mentioned the special relationship the Diamond Dukes have with their #1 fan, Justin Brown before. This Saturday, April 10 Sunday, April 11 has been declared Justin Brown Day by the JMU Baseball as part of JMU’s Cancer Awareness Week. Additionally, Justin is scheduled to throw out the first pitch before the Dukes face William & Mary Sunday at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Harrisonburg. Admission is free for all kids and those in attendance are invited to run the bases after the game.

InsideNova.com’s Joe Conroy has a nice piece on Justin’s experience as an important part of the JMU Baseball program. Justin is a 7 year old boy who has been battling cancer since he was only 2. He has been paired up with the Diamond Dukes by the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation, an organization which works with college athletic teams to “adopt” children affected with brain tumors.

David Warner, the Dukes’ team manager first heard about the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation after watching a HBO Real Sports feature on it. He was so taken by the piece that he approached the JMU coaching staff about participating in the program.

I’ve been with the team for four years so I knew how good the guys were, Warner said. I brought this up to the coaches and they loved it. Within two weeks we got Justin. There’s a 200-person waiting list now, so we got him right in time.

Justin was welcomed to the team at a barbecue last fall and even got to sign a letter of intent, officially linking him to the program, at a ceremony in February with the entire team. How cool is that? The players seem to be enjoying the experience. Shortstop David Herbek tells Conroy:

Ever since we heard about the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation, we’ve been on board and excited. Justin’s been great. You couldn’t ask for a better kid. It’s great when he comes by. It puts things in perspective, that there’s more to life than just baseball.

I don’t know how many times I’ve been told that I “shouldn’t get so emotional about sports” or have been reminded that “sports are just supposed to be a distraction.” While those are true statements, isn’t the fact that sports can provide a distraction to folks who could really use one, like Justin and his family, part of what makes them so great? In any case, stories like this make it easy to cheer for the Dukes.


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  1. Kevin / Apr 5 2010

    FYI, Sunday is Justin Brown Day. Saturday will be the official grand opening ceremonies for the new ballpark.

  2. Rob / Apr 7 2010

    Thanks for pointing that out Kevin. For some reason your comment got held up and I didn’t see it until tonight. In any case, we appreciate you providing the correct date for this awesome event.

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