This past year, the Astros Foundation and Shriners Hospitals for Children announced a multi-year naming rights agreement for their annual college baseball tournament, renaming it the Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic. The tournament was held at the Astros’ Minute Maid Park in late February and was aired nationally on MLB Network. In addition to providing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the players, each of the participating teams took time out of their busy schedules to serve:
Rice made a trip to visit patients at Shriners Hospitals for Children— Houston, participating in recreational therapy to help patients with rehabilitation through the game of baseball. “It’s an experience you really can’t duplicate… I wish I could do it all again,” said Rice pitcher Jon Duplantier.
Sage Warner of Amarillo, Texas experienced a day in the life of a Texas Tech University baseball player. Since the age of 2, Sage has had 18 surgeries for scoliosis. “He taught us far more than we taught him,” said Texas Tech head coach Tim Tadlock, “he’s everything you would want a young man to be.”
The Houston Cougars took a road trip to Shriners Hospitals for Children—Galveston to visit burn survivors and other patients. The team participated in a child life activity with patients and toured the facility. “It’s a two-way street, the kids here get a great benefit, and the players are benefitted as well,” said head coach Todd Whitting.
The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns provided Lafayette resident Paige LaCombe, who was treated for Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS) at Shriners Hospitals for Children / Galveston, with a unique baseball experience. Said head coach Tony Robicheaux: “God gives us the gift of making a difference in somebody else’s life. 99.9
percent of the time when we start out trying to help somebody else… it helps us more than it helps her.”
The Arkansas Razorbacks invited Austin Goldthorpe, born with clubfoot, to Baum Stadium for the day, where he met the players and was treated with his own locker full of Razorback baseball gear. “The players were outstanding… they love this type of stuff,” head coach Dave Van Horn said. “Some of these players miss their little brothers and sisters, and this gives them the chance to feel like they’re back at home.”
Lastly, Shriners Hospitals for Children—Houston patients visited TCU‘s campus and went through baseball activities with the Horned Frogs at Lupton Stadium. “This life isn’t about you,” TCU head coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “That’s why the number one core value of our program is selflessness; to learn that you’ve been given a gift, and it’s not what you can do with that gift for yourself, it’s how you can impact others.”