Keeper of The Game
“The mission of Keeper of The Game is to provide kids and young adults with special needs and disabilities unique baseball experiences that foster the growth of those individuals and their love of baseball. Keeper of The Game promotes programs that allow these athletes to play, watch and experience baseball at a very personal level. This is all done with a focus on advancing servant leadership.”
“Dad coached both my brother, Andy, and myself from ages 8-15. He spent years working with teams even after we had finished playing for him. Along the way, he helped build ball fields and established Little League Baseball in the East Iredell, N.C., community. He went on to serve on the board for the local Babe Ruth League and helped build two fields there, as well. Before us, he worked with the American Legion program and the Statesville Owls – an old minor league team. He touched hundreds of lives along the way and helped boys grow into men. It was not uncommon to find him and my mom at a ball field even over the last several years just watching games. He loved to watch youth baseball and talk to the kids and their parents about what they should enjoy and learn.
Outside of baseball, he was a pillar in the community. He served as Lay Leader at New Salem (N.C.) United Methodist Church and was active with their men’s club. He was also president of the Student Teacher Parent Association at East Iredell Elementary. If you wanted to find my dad, all you had to do was look where there was a need for someone to help kids and community – he was always there.
Perhaps the biggest thing I remember him saying on the ballfield is that he didn’t believe in mistakes – only lessons. If you did it wrong, it was simply a chance to learn from it so that we didn’t do it again. Mistakes (errors) only occurred when you continued to do something wrong instead of learning from it. He always encouraged players to “go for it” without worrying about the outcome. He also ended every player conversation on a positive note, no matter the score. “Always have a positive takeaway to build from,” he said.
One final note about baseball is that he was very committed to family, and he made sure my mom was always there and always involved. She caught a lot of throws as I returned ground balls across the field, and he made sure that we thanked her and were gracious for her help. He made it a family affair, and we all loved it.
He spent 27 years officiating high school football with a large part of that also including middle school games during the week. He also spent several years officiating high school baseball and basketball. All of those games allowed him to stay close to youth sports and further stay involved with the coaches and kids that competed.
Our family requests that memorials be made to the Keeper of The Game Foundation, a nonprofit that provides kids and young adults with special needs and disabilities unique baseball experiences. Memorial donations can be made here.”
- Keeper of The Game mourns loss of D.C. Viars
- Keeper of The Game donates game balls to The Miracle League at Town and Country during Round Rock Express Doubleheader
- Keeper of The Game hosts Wakeland High School for “Out to The Ballgame” Day at Dr Pepper Ballpark
- Keeper of The Game announces 2016 Middle School Match Up Leadership Award winners
- Keeper of The Game donates game balls to Bambino Buddy Ball League; Expands reach to Arizona
- Synchrony Financial employees give back to community, make donation to Keeper of The Game
- Photos: Keeper of The Game VIP Night at Rock & Brews in The Colony
- Keeper of The Game supporters invited to VIP Night at Rock & Brews in The Colony on March 11
- Keeper of The Game supporter Ruffino featured by two Louisiana TV stations
- Keeper of The Game partners with Frisco Sports Center to launch new online store
KEEPER OF THE GAME STORE NOW OPEN!
Want to buy some Keeper of The Game gear, such as T-shirts, hoodies, caps or bracelets? Click here.
KEEPER OF THE GAME SPOTLIGHT:
Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith
Keeper of The Game Founder James Vilade introduced Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith to our foundation before Oklahoma State’s opening game at the NCAA Men’s College World Series in Omaha, Neb., on June 18. To see more pictures of current and former Major League Baseball players wearing KoTG gear, click here.
BE A KEEPER OF THE GAME
Donating online is a simple way to help provide unique baseball experiences for kids and young adults with special needs and disabilities. If desired, you may choose specific programming for your funds to be used for. We are a 501(c)3 designated non-profit organization. To make a donation to Keeper of The Game, click here.
Keeper of The Game would like to sincerely thank Rock & Brews in The Colony (Texas) for hosting our foundation for its soft-opening charity night on March 11, 2016. The event completely sold out. A huge thank you also goes to all our supporters for helping make this one of our biggest fundraisers. To see a photo gallery of the event, click here.
Keeper of The Game was thrilled to partner with the College Sports Information Directors of America for their #CoSIDA16 community service event with The Miracle League of Frisco on June 14, 2016 in Frisco. To see a photo gallery, click here. To see a video, click here.
Keeper of The Game is a proud supporter of The Miracle League of Frisco. Recently, Keeper of The Game purchased three new wheelchairs for The Miracle League of Frisco. To learn more, click here.
Keeper of The Game is a proud supporter of The Miracle League of DFW. Each year Keeper of The Game assists The Miracle League of DFW by providing specialty baseballs and equipment to athletes. To learn more, click here.