Scott Bodner will be celebrating Father’s Day this year in Burlington, North Carolina. He will be sitting on some bleachers wearing a baseball cap with a huge smile on his face. I am sure memories of playing catch in the back yard and weekend road trips will be going through his mind. He will be watching his son begin a new chapter many kids can only dream about.
Jacob Bodner’s favorite sport as a youngster was basketball, baseball was second. He was quick, competitive and team oriented. The perfect formula for a point guard. The only thing missing was height. At 5”3” entering Boyle County High School his freshman year it was clear to his dad that if Jacob wanted to continue playing sports after high school it was going to have to be baseball. Scott had played baseball in high school and knew Jacob had the ability to excel in the sport. Jacob picked up the glove and the rest of the story is a journey that led him to be drafted in the 27th round of the draft last week by the Kansas City Royals.
I could quote Jacob’s statistics from Boyle County High School and Xavier University. I could refer to articles from his playing time in Cape Code Summer League but they are only numbers. The true story is that of a young man who has battled obstacles throughout his young life to reach his goals. The obstacles would have proven too much for many but through faith, his family and determination he conquered each along his path.
The right ACL tear came in the fall of his senior year. Jacob had to watch his teammates from the bench as he also watched the interest of Division One schools disappear. Xavier University was the only school still willing to give him a scholarship. Jacob enrolled in the fall and began his work outs with the team. Xavier was right. Jacob was 100 percent and dedicating himself to becoming better.
The left ACL tear came in the fall of his junior year at Xavier. Once again Jacob would have to go through the surgery and the grueling physical therapy. He never once thought about quitting. He had been through it before and knew what he had to do. He vowed to come back his senior year and continue his quest.
A few weeks before Christmas this year Scott Bodner was diagnosed with Stage 4 esophageal cancer. Scott had watched Jacob battle through adversity and now it was his turn. Chemotherapy would limit the amount of times he would get to watch Jacob but thanks to live streaming, games were often watched from the Bodner home. Jacob dedicated the season to his dad and was determined to fulfill the dream they shared.
Kansas City Royals got more than a great player in this year’s draft. They drafted a great young man.
Scott will always remember this Father’s Day as will Jacob. Faith, Hope and Love are sometimes all you need to succeed.
Thanks to all those parents who spend endless hours at ballparks, gyms or fields. Thanks to those who play catch at night until the moon is the only light in the sky. Thanks for helping make your child’s dreams come true.
Happy Father’s Day to all!!
Cameron Mills and Jacob at Basketball Camp
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