Sunset at Prien Lake Park

Sunset at Prien Lake Park

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team

This past Friday, I attended The Battle on the Bayou, a softball tournament between The Wounded Warriors Amputee Softball Team and the Bayou All-Stars, captained by Olympic champion and retired pro softball player Jennie Finch-Daigle.

The Wounded Warriors Amputee Softball Team is a group of 15 veterans, all injured in the recent wars, all with one or two prosthetic limbs, be it an arm, or leg, or both legs. They tour around the country, playing two weekends a month, against fire/police departments or other groups. They are athletic and competitive – they beat Jennie’s All-Stars both Friday and Saturday night – but their primary goal is to show the country and especially other veterans that, while they may be disabled, they are not sitting around. They are living their lives actively and productively. And if they can do it, anyone can. Check out their website here. It's inspiring.

I’m not particularly a big fan of softball. But my interest in this game came after I wrote a story for Jambalaya News about the Team and how Jennie brought them here to SWLA. And I felt it was a good cause to support. You can read my article here.

Jennie, a resident of nearby Sulphur, La., talked the Warriors into coming here after meeting them at a tournament in Florida last February. (Learn more about Jennie here.) The coach and teammates were reluctant to commit initially. Their schedule for the year was already booked. But with Jennie’s charm and prompting, they obliged.

To read the quotes of the teammates and coach in the American Press, our local newspaper, (one story here) for the past three days, I think they are glad they came. The support shown to these guys from the southwest Louisiana community was phenomenal. They played before a crowd of 5,700 spectators between the two nights. A total of $202,000 was donated to the Warriors’ cause, way more than they received in all their tournaments put together thus far, according to their coach David Van Sleet. (They’ve been playing together just over a year.)

As I watched the game and observed the fans, I felt a wave of patriotic pride. Here’s a photo of my view of the game from where I sat, high in the stands.

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