Saturday, May 21, 2011
The Pirate I haven't met yet
It has been such a blessed and wonderful year at Seton Hall. It’s hard to believe that so much time has gone by since I arrived in August. As I’ve shared on this blog and in the Garcia Gazette a large number of men on the baseball team at Seton Hall have committed themselves to a weekly Bible study and deepening their own personal faith in Jesus Christ. These men have also helped me to take my own faith and trust in Jesus much deeper than it was 9 months ago. As the year ends, it’s bittersweet. 2 of the men I have gotten to know this last year are seniors and will not be back in the fall. That will certainly be a change for our Bible study as one of the men was always more than willing to share his thoughts during Bible study, appropriately he is the catcher. The other guy and I spent some time together outside of Bible study and it was often at daily mass or during a meal. Both men are great leaders and will be missed greatly by their teammates, coaches, and Bible study leader. (If they win today they’ll advance to the Big East Tournament for the first time in 3 years!)
Throughout the year I was impressed with all of the young men in Bible study. They asked great questions that challenged me and often made points that I did not realize myself. Often we would talk about prayer and intercession. Most often the person(s) I would call on the intercession of or ask the guys to ask for the intercession of was Mary, our Mother, Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati (the Bible study’s adopted patron), and Blessed Pope John Paul II. As we talked about intercession, which basically means asking another for their prayers for you to God, the guys questioned it, looking to understand better. Some thought it seemed strange to ask someone who is no longer living to pray for you. I explained it’s really no different than asking someone on earth to pray for you and wouldn’t you want someone in Heaven, with our Savior and His Father to pray for you?
Often when we talked about this the guys told me about David Bachner, a young man who was supposed to be a teammate of theirs but unexpectedly passed away a few weeks before his first day of college. I thought about him time to time throughout the year and especially when the guys would bring him up, which happened at least half a dozen times.
Admittedly, I had forgotten about him until I took the pictures included in the blog. I took a picture that I wanted to include in my newsletters. Then the guys asked if they could take one to send to Mrs. Bachner. So all the sophomores; David’s classmates, took a picture with David’s shirt. I posted them on Facebook on May 7th, thinking nothing of it. Later that day one of the guys on the team “tagged” his teammates and Mrs. Bachner in the picture. Later that evening, Mrs. Bachner sent me a friend request and sent me a message. The message said; “AJ, the pictures could not have come at a more perfect time…….missing David so much on mother’s day.” My heart sank and I had a lump in my throat.
As I became friends with Mrs. Bachner I learned about a cause that was created to help remember David. It’s called “Unhittable Across the Globe”. There is a photo album of people wearing an “Unhittable” shirt literally around the world. I wanted to help bring “Unhittable” to new locations and help David’s memory last. I learned that David was truly “unhittable” when he was on the mound. His mother told me, “David was a one of a kind kid ... He was smart, so very witty ... and one of the best lefty pitchers the CVC had seen. David broke all school records ... State of New Jersey records ... he was being scouted by pros ... such class on the mound ... he had a strut like no other. When David pitched ... no one could hit him ... he would either strike you out or walk you. So all David's newspaper articles would read No-No Bachner ... Unhittable” She also told me that Seton Hall was David’s dream.
There are so many things that really impress me about this. One being the guys on the team that knew him, most of them only met him for a few hours and in that short amount of time the guys grew so close to him. They met and spent time together only at their freshmen orientation during the summer. A few of the guys knew him a bit more personally, one played against him in high school and another really hit it off with him and hung out more after orientation. Another guy who could not attend orientation but was assigned to live with David got in touch with David to go golfing to meet each other before they moved in together. They were supposed to go golfing on August 8, 2009, which turned out to be David’s last day here on earth. It wasn’t until the next morning that David’s roommate found out David had passed the day before.
I have been in touch with Mrs. Bachner since mother’s day trying to figure out how I could I get a shirt. This last Thursday night I met with the baseball team for our last Bible study of the school year. We decided to call Mrs. Bachner and invite her to the game today. She happily accepted the invitation and was looking forward to seeing the boys. Unfortunately this morning she contacted me and told me she could not make it, but for a very good reason. Today at David’s alma mater they’re playing against their rival school and they’re honoring David. Go North. She apologized and said, “Good luck today!! Lucky “16” will be with you!”
I’m pretty sure the guys believe David is with them too, they still keep a #16 shirt in the dugout. David, you’re remembered by your teammates at Seton Hall and I’m looking forward to the day that we do meet. Go Pirates!
Rest in peace David Bachner #16 Unihittable