by Cecily Sailer
Less than a week after the devastating fires broke out in Bastrop last September, Chris Bodine, then the new president of Bastrop Little League, was sitting in the league’s registration office. It was the day appointed for in-person registration to participate in the league’s fall season, though Bodine saw little cause for baseball.
But when Bodine opened the doors, he found a woman waiting there for him. The day before, she’d learned her home had been destroyed in the fires, and she was still waiting to break the news to her six-year-old son. As Bodine told it, “She felt it was important for her son to have an avenue and activity to go to, so he wouldn’t have to focus on the fact that he had just lost everything.”
Until that moment, Bodine had been unsure whether to start the season, but in an instant he was convinced it was time to play ball. He and the league’s board extended registration and voted to waive fees completely.
By the time registration ended, more than 300 T-ball, softball, and little league players had signed up. To keep the game going, the league brought in donated equipment and financial support to put Bastrop’s children on the field and help them escape the damage wrought by the fires.
Today, the league’s spring season is in full swing, boasting its most successful run to date with more than 400 young players on 35 teams cracking the bat and fielding the ball on the city’s six diamonds, none of which were disrupted by the fires.
“It was important for them to have something else to focus on,” Bodine said, noting the sport is just one of many remedies for this community and the losses it suffered last fall. “All parts of the community have been and continue to find momentum. We’re all turning something negative into a positive and continuing to rebuild.”