In case you missed it, my story on Potomac Nationals second baseman Cole Freeman posted last week on InsideNova.com. You can find it here. My story focused less on Freeman’s baseball talents (more on that below) and more on his efforts to motivate young people with his Heart Has No Limit message. It was one of the coolest stories I’ve reported in the three years I’ve been side-hustling for InsideNova. I could’ve written so much more, but I only had so much space. Thankfully, I can shine a light on some leftover nuggets right here.
- I likely wouldn’t have written about Freeman at all had I not stumbled upon Jeffrey Marx’s brilliant piece from 2017, which I urge you to read here. Jeff, who in 1986, at age 23, became the youngest writer ever to win the Pulitzer Prize, profiled Freeman as a senior at LSU. I thought it might be cool to write an updated piece on Freeman and focus more on the Heart Has No Limit Ambassador program. Writers generally don’t interview other writers — we are the story-tellers, not the story — but I thought it was important to talk to Jeff. And he couldn’t have been more gracious with his time. My story was better because of his insights, and I thank him for that. Check out Jeff’s site, and his books, here.
- Oh yeah, Cole Freeman is a damn good baseball player, too. So good, I was afraid he might get promoted to Double-A Harrisburg by the time I finished my reporting. As of this writing (July 8), Cole leads the P-Nats in batting average (.300), stolen bases (18), runs (52) and hits (92). He’s a slick second baseman, but he’s also spent some time roaming centerfield this season, and he hasn’t missed a beat. He’s fun to watch.
- Meritt McKittrick is one of the most remarkable human beings I’ve ever known, young or old. As told in the story, she was paralyzed from the waist down at age 5 in a horrific car crash. The way she’s dealt with her situation makes her the absolute perfect ambassador for Heart Has No Limit. She’s just a teenager, but she’s wise beyond her years and is a tremendous role model for others to follow. Meritt was introduced to wheelchair athletics as a freshman in high school. She didn’t want to participate at first, but she begrudgingly went through with it. By the time she graduated this past May, she had won two Texas High School state titles (in the 100- and 400-meter races) to go with two silver medals and two bronze medals. She finished 2nd in the 100 as a senior and was certainly disappointed, but she cared more about growing the sport and giving hope to so many others who need it, just like she did.
“I’m not one to like losing,” she said. “I got done with the race and I was smiling. I was happy she beat me. It proved to me that even when I’m gone, the talent will keep improving each year.”
I mean, c’mon. How do you not love that?
- Never did my wife and I envision ourselves tailgating before a Single-A minor league baseball game. But there we were, in a half-empty parking lot with Cole’s family before a game against the Carolina Mudcats last month. The Freemans brought a little SEC flair to Woodbridge that night. We could use a little more of that, honestly. So thank you to Sean, Kellie, Kacey, and Taylor for inviting us. (And for the #colbeer!)
Thanks for reading, y’all!