He’s the author who inspired Terre Du Lac resident Dan Bryan to take on his current journey of playing 365 sessions of catch.
When Ethan D. Bryan first read the obituary of 16-year-old Ethan Cole Bryan, he was startled and humbled. I have spent the remainder of the morning reading stories about him. Ethan Cole Bryan was the son of Dan Bryan and Jackie Bryan and was a West County High School sophomore and member of the baseball team when he was tragically killed in a car accident on Sept. 16, 2020.
Instantly, Ethan felt compelled to do something for the young man’s family. He contacted WCHS Principal Levi Rawson and then sent him a copy of his book, “A Year of Playing Catch.”
The book is about the author himself, an avid baseball fan who lives in Springfield, who crosses 10 states and travels 12,000 miles to play catch with more than 500 catch partners. In fact, I have played catch every day for a year “on a quest both quixotic and inspirational.”
“A Year of Playing Catch” shares stories about the “sacredness of play, finding meaningful connections and becoming present to the wonder of the human experience.”
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Rawson gave Dan the book just days after his son’s death at a home baseball game in the fall of 2020, but he wasn’t emotionally able to read it until December 2021.
Instantly Dan knew he wanted to use Ethan D. Bryan’s concept of playing catch to make connections with others. Dan wanted to play catch with others as a healing method for himself. He felt he could be there for others who were struggling with their own issues, coping with loss and healing from a loved one’s death.
Dan said at that moment, he knew he wanted to be “that person who others could feel the confidence in sharing” with him to heal a lingering wound.
Dan and Jackie’s are Ethan loved baseball. That’s one reason why Dan decided to toss a baseball with others to make personal connections with family, friends and even strangers.
He’s been playing catch using his son’s glove since January.
Dan admits that the simplicity of tossing a baseball has become much deeper than he first anticipated.
“The conversation is powerful, the connection is swift and true,” he said. “I have learned to become vulnerable and share.”
Through his series of catch, Dan is able to share precious memories of his son to keep Ethan’s memory alive. He misses his son’s laugh, sense of humor and simply talking to him.
“The struggle is real, it is painful, it is gut-wrenching, but I am finding peace and am thankful for those in my life who are helping me,” said Dan.
Dan will be able to meet and thank Ethan D. Bryan for inspiring his 365 games of catch, as will Parkland residents if they attend the free open-house type event.
The author will travel from Springfield to West County High School on Wednesday to talk with the high school baseball team. Afterward, refreshments will be served while Ethan signs his book “A Year of Playing Catch” and visits with guests from 4:30 to 5:30 pm He will give an inspirational talk from 5:30 to 6:15 pm and then sign books again until 7 pm
Books are $20. All sales from his books by him on Wednesday go directly to the Ethan Bryan Memorial Scholarship Fund.
This event is sponsored by the Mineral Area Council on the Arts and hosted by the West County School District.