By Tim Branstetter / Staff Writer
The Corbin 11 & 12-year-old All-Stars might be the only baseball team that is asked to keep up with a football helmet, but that helmet has a special place in their hearts.
Corbin coach Chad Estep and his team decided to honor Ethan Smith after he lost his life due to a brain tumor on Thursday, July 5.
“We take his football helmet with us every time we practice or play a game and the kids rub that helmet before they play,” Estep said. “Every night a different kid takes the helmet home.”
Estep feels having the helmet with them is not only a way to honor Smith, but it also serves as a reminder to the kids just how precious life really is.
“We are trying to keep his memory alive and do things with his name, even though he is no longer with us,” Estep said. “It allows our kids to keep in perspective how important life is. Over time those kids have become aware of how fortunate they are to be playing baseball.”
Smith was only 10, but most of the kids on the Corbin All-Stars had been in contact with him through sports or school.
“You are usually known for what team you play for,” Estep said. “Ethan was a Saint, but he has probably been a Saint in more ways than one to these kids. Even though he is gone he has helped these kids stay focused and he’s as attached to their lives as much as they were to his.”
Most kids that play sports have a hard time keeping up with their shoes, helmets or gloves, but Estep has been surprised with the maturity that his All-Stars have shown.
“I never expected a group of 12-year-old kids to become so emotionally attached to something, but they have,” he said. “Most of them can’t keep up with their own stuff, but they keep up with that helmet.”
The Corbin All-Stars got off to a tough start and suffered a loss, but they have turned things around since bringing the helmet to their games.
They have reeled off six-straight wins and have found themselves in the championship game tonight at 7 p.m. against the Knox County All-Stars.
Knox County has not lost a game, so the Corbin All-Stars have to find a way to pick up two wins to claim the title.
Anything is possible in sports and we have all seen the movie, “Angels in the Outfield,” but win or lose there is no doubt that the Corbin All-Stars will have a little Saint in the outfield as they compete for the championship.
Corbin 11 & 12-year-old Al Stars honor Ethan Smith
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