Pancake breakfast more than a fund-raiser

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My Views by Thomas J. Barr, publisher

 In the world of reporting, it is not unusual to see tears shed.

But you normally don’t see that happen at a youth baseball all-star game. And, when it happens, the tears normally flow from an upset child after a loss or an angry parent who believes his or her child didn’t get enough playing time.

On this particular Saturday afternoon, it was a coach shedding tears and apologizing to one of his players.

He was upset the young man had not gotten into the game. 

His displeasure in himself led to tears. His own tears.

For the player, he was more interested in riding in the back of an ATV used to maintain the fields.

But for the coach, he took it very hard.

It says a lot about Tommy Parker - the coach, the man, and more importantly, the father of two sons.

There is no way to calculate the number of hours Parker and his wife, Terri, have devoted to the youth of Blue Lick Optimist League.

Located on the Bullitt/Jefferson County border, the Parkers have no doubt spent more time at the ballpark than at their home.

For the family, “home” is now a rental unit off Zoneton Road after fire destroyed their residence in Pioneer Village.

The community is coming together this Saturday morning at Beef O’Brady’s in Hillview Square for a pancake breakfast. Tickets are only $6.

A word to the wise - if you are desiring to actually eat pancakes, get there at 8 a.m. because there will be a crowd. If you are only wishing to make a donation, sleep a little later but be there by 10:30 a.m.

Homes burn. Accidents happen. But why would one expect the restaurant to be stuffed to the rafters on a cold December morning?

Because the Parker family has given so much to the community that the community now wants to give back.

Like any disaster, insurance will come through but it takes time.

The Parkers have recently added to their family size. Why trade hours caring for young children when one could be hunting on the farm?

Because that is what makes the Parkers who they are.

They realized there was an opportunity to help two youngsters have a better life and they seized that opportunity.

My son had the pleasure to play baseball for seven or eight years with Parker, and his sidekick Challis Ford.

As a father, there were days when I would shake my head. I would make sure I stood down the outfield fence so my comments could not be heard.

But there was one thing I was always sure of - whatever decision he made, he did it in the best interest of the kids.

Are there youngsters who did not like the coaching decisions by Parker? I am sure of that.

Are there parents who probably didn’t reach this stage of this column without moving on to the next article? I am sure of that.

During his many years of coaching with Ford, Parker was probably the “good cop” of the pair. Challis brings them down to earth and Parker built them up.

What I have observed in many, many years of covering sports, the Blue Lick kids are well-behaved and very respectful.

It says something about the organization and the leadership, which has included Parker for many years.

As the family of eight rebounds from this tragic event, none are probably too comfortable with having a fund-raiser for their benefit.

The family isn’t asking for assistance. But it is time for them to accept the community’s kindness.

But while there will be funds generated, the Saturday morning event will provide something more valuable - a time to say thanks.

It is a time that the community, which includes thousands of youngsters who are now young adults, who have passed through the Blue Lick system.

Expect the family to be humble. That is the way they are.

If you have been a part of the Blue Lick family over the past 50 years, come out and show your support for the organization and, more importantly, for the Parkers, who have been so important to its rich history.