When I heard Loyalsock baseball would be traveling to Pine Grove for their quarterfinal state play-off game it brought a smile to my face. I knew my brother Brian, sister-in-law Rachel and their three boys, Chance (12), Jed (8) and “The Bull” Gage (4) would be at the game. They live just fifteen minutes or so from the field.
They recently came up to my place for a picnic and some Memorial Day fun. Rachel had asked me if I would find a batting helmet. See, “The Bull”, Gage, got his name for his big size and although only four she couldn’t find him a helmet that fit. She wanted her lefty to be able to play ball like the older boys; most importantly to have a helmet like his older brothers. One thing we have at my house is lots of baseball gear and to “The Bull’s” liking Jimmy had a new batting helmet that fit him. It was a new Easton white adult helmet. Rachel smiled ear to ear. She knew how much this meant to Gage. I spoke with her a couple days later and she thanked me and said Gage wore it every day and lent it to Jed to wear in a game.
Back to Pine Grove…It was great to see Big Bri, Rachel and the boys at the game. The Lancers held a 2 run lead heading into the bottom of the sixth. As Kyle Datres reached base Brian said, “Jimmy is going to hit one out, dead centerfield.” We were all seated together down the left field line. Rachel had heard Bri and before she could speak, gone! Just as Brother Bri predicted. Rachel and the kids went nuts. Before the dust settled Rachel asked the boys to run down Jimmy’s ball and give it to him after the game. A gentleman brought the ball in from the outfield and Rachel had Chance, Jed and Gage present it to Jimmy after the game.
What a great family moment. Rachel was so proud of the boys and that included Jimmy. She loved watching him play the game.
The next day God called Rachel home, less than twenty hours after that home run and celebration. She was only 37 years old.
Rachel was a beloved daughter, wife, mother, aunt and sister-in-law. She was passionate about her boys and sports, active in her sons’ football, wrestling and baseball. She loved and wanted the best athletic experience for her sons. She worked hard at the board level and we would often talk. She helped set up a three team scrimmage between Loyalsock and the Little Lykens Tigers, complete with sixty pizzas and smiles all around. I enjoyed talking with her about many things but we always came back to sports.
She was a sister to my wife, Michelle. They were outnumbered big time by all of us boys. Rachel and she had a special relationship. They were sisters and enjoyed each other’s company and would talk about fashion that would always get Bri and I out of the room. Rachel, Bri and Michelle would go out without me on occasion and have a great time. Whether a wine festival or a wedding, I was thankful for Rachel. She was proud to be a Webb and always up to being my partner in setback. I was proud to have her in our family.
She was strong and had conviction, loyal to those who she believed in and not afraid to share her opinion. Her parents can be proud of the daughter they raised. She was a great aunt and loved by my sons. Brian, her and the boys could be seen and sometimes heard at football, basketball and baseball games and sometimes heard. Rachel was passionate about her nephews, loved watching them play, especially baseball. In one of our last conversations she told me how much she enjoyed watching Jimmy and his Lancer teammates how they play the game. In the next breath she loved Hunter’s “free spirited attitude and how he goes up just to knock the crap out of the ball” during his West End games.
Please say a prayer for Big Bri and his three boys. Rachel is looking down with my Dad in a much better place, waiting on the next ball game. She will live on in Brian, Chance, Jed and Gage. She will be remembered and missed by all of us. Love ya Rachel. I’ll make sure “The Bull” wears his helmet.
Make sure you laugh, love and pray each day. Life can be difficult but this is what is important. We often take our blessings for granted. One of these is time.