The Harvard baseball and softball teams showed their muscle at the plate on Saturday, racking up 36 runs in four games, but the squads also put their strongest muscle on display: the heart.
Softball and baseball teamed up over the weekend to sponsor Friends of Jaclyn Day, an event focused on increasing awareness of pediatric brain tumors through FOJ—an organization that pairs collegiate and high school teams with children suffering from cancer.
Both teams have been actively involved with FOJ all season. Baseball adopted new three-year-old teammate Alex Wawrzyniak, who has attended a number of practices and contributed a teddy bear that the team keeps in the dugout. Softball coach Brandi Gordon serves on the board of the organization, striving to pair Boston teams with local children. FOJ Day was one of Gordon’s efforts to get her own team more involved.
“For our team, even though we don’t have a kid, it means a lot to us,” said sophomore pitcher Julia Moore, who helped to organize the event along with classmate Eve Rosenbaum. “It’s very meaningful for us to have an event without being fully involved in the program yet—it shows how much we admire the program and the Murphy family [whose daughter, Jaclyn, was FOJ’s first adoptee].”
The day-long event featured activities throughout the baseball and softball doubleheaders against Penn, including trivia between innings, dizzy bat races, T-shirts on sale, and a raffle for Red Sox tickets—all of which raised awareness, in addition to over $1,000.
The softball players also donned purple ribbons in support of FOJ.
“The ribbons are fun,” Moore said. “All of us wanted to show our support. It was also big for us because we were playing Ivy games, but I think [FOJ Day] gave it a little bit of an extra edge.”
While the organization continues to work to expand its reach, events like the one on Saturday help to raise awareness about FOJ and will hopefully facilitate more matches in the future. The softball team is one of over 1,000 teams across the country on the FOJ waitlist and hopes to be able to adopt a Boston-area child in the near future.
“We really want to have this event every year, especially as we get closer to having a kid of our own to adopt,” Moore said.