KINGS POINT, N.Y. (March 23, 2016) – The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) baseball team brought some joy to children being treated at the Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida during their spring trip to Fort Myers earlier this month.
After wrapping up their series against Coast Guard on Monday, March 7, the team members spread throughout the hospital, visiting and interacting with many children and bringing smiles to their faces.
"It was a fantastic opportunity for our team to interact with some young, inspiring children," said head coach Michael Notebaert. "These kids taught us to continue to persevere through extreme circumstances. Meeting children that beat cancer and put it in remission inspired our boys and made them view life in a different perspective and understand what's really important."
The Mariners handed out USMMA Baseball wristbands with the program values of "Attitude," "Believe" and "Commit" printed on them – their key ingredients to win. They hoped to pass along those values to the youngsters – "When you have the right attitude, have belief in the process and commit to it, good outcomes will prevail," said Notebaert.
The visit was special for the members of the baseball team as well as the children. Senior pitcher Kyle Clausen (Southold, N.Y.) commented, "We were happy to go down to the hospital. A lot of these children have been in and out of the hospital going through some tough times. Watching their faces light up when we came in and taking their mind off of what they are going through even if for a few minutes was well worth it."
Freshman Kai Vitella (Lewes, Del.) added, "Seeing these children fight through adversity, helped us realize that there are more important things in life than baseball. Personally, it allowed me to appreciate the little things in life and not take anything for granted. It was a humbling experience."
The team plans to make future visits to the facility during their spring trips in upcoming years.
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