It’s never been about baseball.

Sure, it has something to do with the game, but it’s more than that. We have been fortunate enough to become part of the Utah Bandits family, which by design is 11 boys that love the sport, but has become more than that.

Sure, the natural friendships made through the process of becoming the number one ranked team (in their first year playing) in the league are relationships founded on the thousands of times we’ve said “good eye” and “have fun kid” but it has become more than that.

That’s JP in the front with the red glove. A young man who loves baseball more than any of us, whose time on the field has been shortened due to his third fight against leukemia. But he’s a fighter, and one we’re proud to call a Bandit. This weekend’s tournament is the Nixon Strong tournament, and our team’s participation in these games is more than about our score, it’s about making a difference in the lives of children who battle cancer.

Our boys raised over $2,600 mowing lawns, selling root beer floats, and gathering donations to help kids like JP through their trials. And our boys raised more than anyone else in their division.

More than baseball, more than the donations, our boys are learning so much more about how great life can be when we focus our passions to serve others, what compassion truly means, and that we have so much to be thankful for in our lives.

I might be cheering our boys as they throw around a hand-stitched ball or smash it with a $400 bat, but I’m crying inside watching these young men learn lessons about life that a guy like me thinks he already knows but is learning alongside them.

It’s never been about baseball.