Xenia Scouts Player Shares Story of Loss with Opponents
It has become customary for the players from the three collegiate summer league baseball teams sponsored by Athletes in Action to share their personal faith stories with players from the opposing teams after a game. For one Xenia Scouts player from the Great Lakes Summer League, a recent experience with losing a mentor hit close to home with those on the other side of the field.
After a disappointing start to his collegiate baseball career at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, Taylor Kaprive decided to transfer back home to the school where his father Mark is the director of student ministries: Palm Beach Atlantic University.
When he arrived, he found a Hall-of-Fame player leading the Sailfish baseball program. Gary Carter, who spent 19 years in the Major Leagues, was the winner of three Gold Glove and five Silver Slugger awards and was an 11-time All-Star, had just taken the head-coaching position at PBA.
Coach makes major impression on his players
Carter turned a struggling Sailfish program around. A team that had one only seven games in the season prior to his coming on board won 27 games in the 2011 season. Things were headed the right way. More importantly, Carter lived out his Christian faith and stressed with his players the importance of having an intimate, personal relationship with Christ.
“For him, it was all about being filled with joy, and that was the Spirit of Christ in him,” Kaprive says of Carter. “He was a godly example. We looked to him as a father figure. Coach had that kind of impact on all of us.”
A week after the completion of the season, Carter was diagnosed with Stage IV brain cancer and given a terminal prognosis.
“It hit the whole team very hard,” says Kaprive. “You never expect to hear such bad news about someone you love and you know loves you.”
Carter died Feb. 16, 2012, a short ten months after the diagnosis.
Story hits home with league opponents
On June 23, Lou Mitchell, the founder and owner of the Licking County Settlers organization in the GLSCBL died.
While not a Hall-of-Fame baseball player, Mitchell was a civic leader in his hometown of Newark, Ohio, and a very hands-on owner when it came to the Settlers. He tried to know all he could about each of the college athletes that came to Newark each summer to be a part of the Settlers. The players were hit hard by the news of his passing.
Mitchell’s funeral was scheduled for June 28, the same night Kaprive and the Scouts were coming to play the Settlers. It was also the night the Scouts had planned on sharing their faith testimonies with the Licking County team.
“About an hour-and-a-half before the game (Scouts head coach) J.D. (Arndt) told me the situation and asked me to share my story with them,” Kaprive says. “He said it would make sense to them in their time of loss.”
Kaprive shared the story of his coach and his love for Christ.
Gospel message touches lives of coach, players
“When someone close to you passes, it makes you take a step back and think about what’s important in life,” Kaprive told the 30-plus players and coaches who were intently listening to him that night. “At (Carter’s) funeral there were countless Hall of Famers and celebrity players from the past, but the only thing that meant anything that day was Gary Carter’s Christian legacy and his relationship with Christ.”
“They needed to hear that. We all needed to hear that because baseball players have a tendency to focus on the here and now. Baseball is temporary and fleeting, and we need to have a broader perspective,” Kaprive says. “Not baseball, not anything can fill our lives with purpose and meaning except for Christ.”
Players on the other teams are given a brochure featuring the Four Spiritual Laws and a tear-off response card. The players are given the opportunity to mark the card if they wish to receive more information about AIA or knowing Christ; or to indicate they have made a decision to follow Christ and want to follow up by speaking to someone from Athletes in Action. A coach from the Settlers indicated that he was making a commitment to follow Christ and to accept Him as his personal Savior.
“That is a fantastic feeling, knowing that I had a part in helping someone make the most important decision in their life,” says Kaprive. “I know that it wasn’t what I said, but God’s Spirit using what I said to make Himself known.”
For more information on how you can have your own personal relationship with Christ and receive Him as your own Lord and Savior, visit our website, or call (937) 352-1161.
By Tommy Young, AIA Communications
Photo courtesy Beth Kaprive
20. July 2012 11:23
News | Sports Teams