Mad for…Nick

The passionate, energetic Dad in the center of this photo is an old friend of mine, Nick Bazan! Coach Bazan is THE BIGGEST CUBS FAN I have ever met, and I have spent most my life with some pretty big fans of the Chicago Cubs…so that’s saying something! He’s pictured here with his beautiful daughter, Bella (at left) along with his wife Crystal (who everyone calls “Ball”) and his handsome son, Dawson.

Coach Bazan spent some time coaching baseball for my youngest son, Zach, who played alongside Dawson on the fields at Skiles Test, which is on the northeast side of Indianapolis. It was without a doubt the most fun my kid ever had playing baseball, because Coach Bazan is one of the most sunny, sparkling and positive people I have ever encountered. He had nicknames for all the kiddos, and he called Zach “All-American”. There was “Lights Out” Ferrucci, Denzel “The Hammer”, Nick “Lightening” Boltz and “Tough as Nails” Bartlett, for instance. The boys were never referred to by the super boring names we parents gave them, always they were called by their nicknames, which made them smile from ear to ear!

He made them work hard, but they also played hard! He and Coach Ferrucci were a dynamic duo out there with teams that were tough to beat! He had a game I am going to call “Hit the Bucket” and at the end of many practices he would give the kids one chance to throw the ball at the bucket from a distance and if you could do it in one try, then there would be a prize– usually $1 or a piece of candy. The boys LOVED that and looked forward to it with glee!!

As this youngest child of mine heads to high school this fall, he’s looking more grown up all the time. He now stands about 5’10 which makes me the shortest of the Thieme family these days. His voice is so darn low that I feel fairly certain he will be in the bass section in that choir class he signed up to try. My babies have grown up and it has me feeling a little nostalgic today, I suppose, and so grateful for so many of the folks who over the years poured out their hearts and volunteered countless hours for other people’s children.

Nick Bazan stands out among those men for his integrity and quality of character. He just seemed to do it all so that the kids received a dose of the same values and experiences sports gave him. His devotion and passion inspired strength and courage in my son to be the best he could possibly be. I am thankful for you, Nick, and want you to know that the Thieme family has never forgotten you, the amazing and generous Coach Ball or those awesome boys of summer at Skiles!! Bella and Dawson are very blessed young people to call you DAD!

Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona. Not all holes, or games, are created equal. –George Will