I met the strongest, toughest, most fearless athlete I’ve ever seen at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex the other day. The kid’s name is Chris Siders and he was huge. If you look at him, though, out there playing right field for his Pensacola AAU baseball team, he seems tiny because he’s only 13 and weighs barely 100 pounds. But his heart is the size of Epcot.
Problem was, for the last couple of years that huge heart of his had a mass growing near it. A cancerous one. Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Staring at the proverbial last at-bat of his life, this kid didn’t try to bunt; he swung for the fences. Against all medical odds, he survived a third round of chemo and radiation treatments and has returned to the baseball diamond. The cancer, doctors told him, is apparently gone.
These days, Chris is back out there in right field doing everything his little body can do to help his team compete in the AAU National Baseball Championships here at Walt Disney World this week.
There are undoubtedly a lot of great teams and extraordinary players in the tournament who would be deserving of a prestigious AAU National title. But my money is on that Pensacola team with the giant kid out there in right field.