BY TY PARKER
Texas Tech Athletics Communications | Special to TexasTech.com
The Texas Tech baseball team achieved its dream of playing in the College World Series this past summer, but last week they got to make the dreams of a few others come true as well.
Nearly 20 members of the Red Raider baseball squad, including head coach Tim Tadlock, visited Covenant Children’s Hospital last Wednesday to interact with hospitalized children suffering from a wide range of health conditions and illnesses.
The student-athletes surprised the children in their hospital rooms, presented them with autographed baseballs, and even took time to pose for pictures as they conversed about such topics as Spiderman and the Disney Channel.
The visit was the initial outing planned as part of the new Red Raider Reach program, created by Texas Tech men’s basketball player Clark Lammert, which is designed to create a consistent effort of outreach into the Lubbock community by all Texas Tech’s athletics programs.
“The Red Raider Reach program is something I thought of this summer,” said Lammert, who is entering his final season with the Red Raider basketball team. “I’m a senior and I only have a year left of having this platform, having these connections, and having the ability to start something like this. I approached our athletics director, Kirby Hocutt, with this opportunity. I think getting our student-athletes to come over here and hang out with the kids is going to be something that not only benefits the kids, but also benefits our student-athletes.”
Sophomore left-handed pitcher Dylan Dusek was among the student-athletes at the hospital and felt honored for the opportunity to engage with the children.
“We are always feeling privileged to come in and excite the kids, ask them some questions, talk to them, and give them a ball signed by our team,” Dusek said. “They probably haven’t talked to anyone all day except their parents or the nurse, so it means a lot to make their day because you know they are Texas Tech fans being out here in Lubbock.”
Sophomore right-hander Ryan Moseley, who graduated in 2013 from Lubbock Cooper High School, thoroughly enjoyed his first experience with the Red Raider Reach program and believes there are many lessons the student-athletes can take home with them as well.
I’ve learned to be thankful for what you have,” Mosley said. “There are other people in unfortunate situations. To see these kids and the way they fight helps you out in everyday life. They could be having a bad day, but when we come in, their faces light up. It means a lot for us to come out here and give back to them. That’s what we need to be doing and it feels really rewarding. – Ryan Moseley
The program, which aims to help Texas Tech student-athletes reach 2,000 hours of community service involvement in 2014-2015, will take two teams per month to Lubbock area hospitals. Spring sports such as baseball, softball and track and field will be involved during the fall semester while fall sports such as football, volleyball and soccer will make visits through the spring semester during their off-seasons. With Red Raider teams currently booked for visits through December, those involved in creating these opportunities are confident the momentum will carry over into the spring semester and be sustained on a yearly basis.
“Clark came to me with this new initiative and it’s awesome,” said Chloe Barnes, Texas Tech Athletics Director of Student-Athlete Affairs. “We have bookings with these visits with teams up until January. It is something we are starting now, but it is also something we hope to continue year after year.”
Barnes feels sometimes student-athletes may get so caught up in the daily grind that they forget how lucky they really are and hopes the Red Raider Reach gives them a sense of perspective.
“I hope they realize how truly blessed and fortunate they are to be a student-athlete at Texas Tech,” Barnes said.
Lammert knows this opportunity can do so much for not only the children and the student-athletes, but also the families who are here at the hospital as well. This initiative can serve the community in so many ways.
“Getting out here and trying to make a kids day, trying to have an impact on a kids life, trying to make them smile is the least we can all do,” Lammert said. “We are also able to talk to these parents, they’re so grateful, because these parents go through a lot having their kids in the hospital and showing them that Texas Tech cares about them. We can show them that they’re not alone in this process. It’s a hard process. Having these athletes come out really gives these kids hope and gives them hope to keep fighting.”