When my first grandson was in first grade at Tillicum Elementary School, his father and I walked into that classroom – with the permission of then Principal Taj Jensen – and asked how many would like to play baseball.
Every hand that went up belonged to a child who was then on the team.
That first year we lost almost every game in Lakewood’s PONY league, which stands for Protect Our Nation’s Youth.
The second year however we won it all, the championship.
The players on the team picked their own name and their own colors. We coaches had nothing to do with their decision. They called themselves the Tillicum Crushers. Their jerseys were orange. Their pants were black. Orange socks.
On Fridays they wore their uniforms to school. Rallies were held in the gym for the big game on Saturday. Teachers came to the games and threw in the first pitch. If the teachers couldn’t be there, they would call that night for the score.
City Councilmembers were in the stands.
It was our very own Friday Night Lights, only baseball. Our cheering section of parents, teachers and community members were the loudest, rowdiest, most faithful in our level of baseball.
My job was to raise money for the team. Over the next five years, the great bulk of the money came from the community itself.
One day a local affiliation of a national health organization sent to me an application by which I could appeal for funds. They wanted to know however, what they would receive in return for their contribution.
I told them the story of one of our players, a first grader, who scored the first ever home run in Tillicum Crusher history.
That homerun was not however because he had hit the ball over the Green Monster in deep center field. He was, after all, six years old.
As a matter of fact, the ball he hit never left the infield. The other team just chased him with the ball all around the bases.
He scored the first ever home run in Tillicum Crusher history because he never stopped running.
So, in my application to this health organization who asked what they would get in return for their donation, I wrote, “You tell me what that memory means to this young man, and what he learned that day that he can use all the rest of his life: what you can accomplish when you never stop running, when you never quit, when you finish what you start, and that’s what your contribution will do.”
They wrote out a check.
That true story illustrates one of the reasons I am running for Clover Park School Board.
I want a chance to prove that within the heart of every single child and youth is a dream. A dream that is accompanied by their innate gifts, skills, talents, and abilities that need to be realized, encouraged, and tracked as they are guided through their team relationships with parents and teachers on a matching career pathway.
Those dreams, skills, gifts, talents, and abilities, have little to do with identification in some supposed historically marginalized group.
Those dreams, skills, gifts, talents, and abilities, have little to do with identification with supposed socio-economic community from which they come.
Those dreams, skills, gifts, talents, and abilities have little to do with the color of their skin.
Labels are libel.
The emPHAsis is on the wrong sylLABle in the current trajectory of the Clover Park School District Board.
We need to flip the script.
As a community is revitalized from the inside out, so an individual youngster is immeasurably helped by focusing on their skills, gifts, talents, and abilities.
I want a chance to show, to prove this model works.
Whether community or classroom, the value, the principle, the method is the same.
That is why I am running for Clover Park School Board.
That is why I thank you for your vote.
Let’s do this.
Jeff Brown says
Thank you for the inspiring story David!!
Piecing this story with others shows me, and I’m sure so many others, the passion you hold for kids!! Thank you for running for Clover Park Schools. I know you will never stop running for kids. CPSD will be blessed to have you!!
J. S. says
What have you done h go or the youth in CPSD since the glory days of the Crushers? I’m deeply involved in the Lakewood community and have not seen you do much of anything. You continue to talk about what you will do.
By the way, school started yesterday. Thought you’d be interested.
KM Hills says
Hello “Tillicum Resident” –
While I don’t live in Tillcum I do live in Lakewood. Even though I don’t live in Tillicum my 1st encounter with David happened when I attended a Tillicum Neighborhood Association Meeting. He greeted me as I walked in and was willing to allow my comments at that meeting even though I did not live in Tillicum. I am not sure when David coached the “Crushers” but my experience with David was just prior to COVID staring. Him being involved in Tillicum with the Crushers and with the Tillicum Neighborhood Assoc. to me, show a pattern of commitment and involvement.
David, I find your example in this submission encouraging and a welcome change. Thank you for taking on the huge task of running and I hope the challenge of helping guide the CPSD.
C Lowe says
This Tillicum baseball team is the one and only reference point I’ve seen you use over and over, when you speak of your hands-on connection to the youth in our community. Sure you have other community experience, but your constant attack on CPSD’s equity framework is proof you are stuck in an era that glorifies whiteness. Aside from the kids in your baseball group (circa ????), when have you ever made any intentional attempts to LISTEN and understand the experiences of anyone belonging to the supposed historical marginalized group you reference? I’ll wait…and make sure your stakeholders are not just those you know that get a pass because they can afford to be a member of the same elite club you belong to. Still waiting…
Your attempt to invalidate the experiences of “supposed” historically marginalized people is just as absurd as your interest convergence. Obviously, you have no concern and no good intentions toward black or brown students, other than having the Tillicum Crushers crutch to use when someone calls you out for your racism. Your white privilege along with the others that support your rhetoric shines brightly as you proudly call our experiences “supposed” because your privilege gives you the right to invalidate us as humans and to tell us how we should perceive our life that – you must think of yourself as God, Almighty – has given us! And please don’t try the whole “it’s not about race” because if it’s not, let’s talk about the caste system to get an understanding of how race was created in these United States.
David, my questions is, why are you and your friends so threatened by CPSD’s equity framework? Why are you trying to silence the voices of those of us who have and constantly are experiencing marginalization from systemic racists structures, and yes even within CPSD? And God forbid, if you are nominated to the school board, how do you plan on addressing the issues of marginalized staff and students, since you don’t even believe it’s a real issue?
Oh and one more thing…let’s just suppose that young baseball player you referenced in your post was a black or brown kid, who has done nothing wrong, but just got pulled over for driving while black. I would hope he has more understanding than your “keep running to accomplish” message. I hope he knows that as a young black or brown man that has seen time and time again how this story ends and in his fear, knowing one of his greatest accomplishments has been to keep running, he doesn’t makes the rash decision to run and keep running. Marginalized people don’t get the privilege of surviving a run from the police. And of course, it will be his fault for driving while Black in the first place.