On Monday afternoon, a day more appropriate for ice fishing than playing baseball, Tucker Reese (pictured above), the starting pitcher for the Unionville Indians' varsity baseball team, may have thrown the most important pitch of his life.
In the record books, it meant nothing. There was no umpire to call the pitch a ball or a strike, no Jugs radar gun to measure its velocity, and his teammates, rather than occupy their customary positions on the field, stood lined up along the third-base line, while the opposing Kennett team did the same along the first-base line. Reese's teammates wore pink shirts, while the Blue Demons wore variations of the color on their uniforms.
And yet, the pitch, tossed ceremoniously before the game, meant everything to the millions of women around the world who are currently engaged in their own private fights against breast cancer. For Reese, the pitch was personal, as much an ending as it was a beginning.
For years, Cathy L. Reese was a prominent attorney, a principal in the Delaware office of Fish & Richardson. She headed the firm's Chancery and Corporate Governance practice, and chaired its Risk Management Group. She was a board member of Delaware Hospice and an active member of Brandywine Valley Baptist Church, and in between, she was the loving mother of her children, Beau, Tucker and Tyler, and the wife of Robert. On July 18, 2013, at the age of 53, Cathy lost her fight with breast cancer.
It has often been said that no one should have to suffer alone through illnesses like breast cancer, and for many survivors, as well as those who have ultimately lost their fight to the disease, there are gracious hands in the form of organizations which provide families with counsel and support.
Locally, a group known as Unite For Her, headquartered in Pocopson, has since its founding in 2009 worked to bridge the gap between the medical and wellness communities by educating women diagnosed with breast cancer about complementary therapies, providing them with a compassionate resource for support, knowledge and healing. In an upcoming edition of the Chester County Press, we will profile this organization and the great work it does in empowering civic-minded youth to organize "pink events" at their schools or clubs, in order to promote breast cancer awareness.
Robert Paul Reese, Jr., followed his son to the mound, but before he threw, he looked upward, as if signaling to his wife that he and his family are all right down here on Earth; that life, though it will never know normalcy again was, through time, being embraced. He tapped his chest and threw. Then he embraced Tucker, as both teams jogged back to their respective dugouts.
It has often been said that in baseball, the best players are the ones who pitch through pain. On Monday, Robert Reese watched his son take the ball for real – as the starting pitcher for Unionville – and help lead his team to victory.