Monday, July 17, 2006

Some Interesting Fenway Park - Persian Gulf Connections

Given how badly the Red Sox have been playing since the All Star break, I need to focus on something other than the box scores of the recent losses to the Oakland A’s in order to keep a smile on my face. Over the weekend, I found just such a distraction in two conversations I had with soldiers who are serving in the Persian Gulf.

On Friday, I had an e-mail conversation with Kyle Kalkwarf, who is currently deployed in Kuwait. Kyle is a 2002 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he starred as an outfielder on the Army baseball team. Among his achievements on the baseball diamond at West Point was a school record 21-game hitting streak. Kyle played his high school baseball at Winston Churchill High School in San Antonio. Knowing that I was heading to Fenway Park later that day to watch Josh Beckett face off against the A’s, Kyle wanted to remind me that he had two hits off of Beckett when they faced each other in Texas!

On Sunday, I received a call from Mike Cooper, a West Point classmate of Kyle and the shortstop on the Army teams that Kalkwarf played for. Mike is home in Texas for a few days of much-deserved R&R in the midst of his second deployment to Iraq. Among the many things we discussed on the phone yesterday was the fact that when he was playing baseball in his native Jacksonville, Florida, Cooper played against both Jonathan Papelbon, the Red Sox phenom rookie closer, and Philadelphia Phillies pitcher and bete noire, Brett Myers. White Rhino Report readers will recall Myers’ recent brush with the law in Boston a few weeks ago.

My conversations with Kyle and Coop served as a reminder that in this present war, just as in WWII and the Korean Conflict in the past, many of our gifted athletes have hung up their spikes in order to serve in the armed forces. May their sacrifice not be in vain.


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