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  • Writer's pictureRyne

Play for Anders - Day 5 of the 30 Days of Thankfulness

Rachel and I had been trudging slowly along the road of grief as the softball season approached ten weeks after Anders died. I was entering my fifth year as the head coach of the girls fastpitch softball team at my school and I was confident that the upcoming season was going to allow me a few hours of distraction every day.

The parent/player meeting hadn’t even started when three of the athletes told me they wanted to honor Anders throughout the season. T-shirts. Stickers on their batting helmets. Their kind-hearted gesture was a way to show me that they were in my corner.

Athletes, parents, teachers, and students from my high school purchased “Play for Anders” shirts with Anders’s dedication verse (1 Corinthians 16:13) on the back. They also purchased shirts for Rachel, Linnea, and me along with other members of our extended family.

Linnea’s now grown out of the “Play for Anders” shirt and for the past few weeks it has been one of Elias’s favorite shirts. I’ve always been nervous about either of our kids wearing the shirt, staining it, and ruining it. While it’s only a shirt, it represents something so much great - it represents one of the many communities that surrounded us in the time following Anders’s death.

When Elias wore the shirt a few days ago he spilled jelly on it, brushed up against an open marker, and had some play dough stuck to the shirt. Before I took the clothes downstairs to wash them, Rachel reminded me to get the stains out. And then she shared how her perspective on that shirt differed from mine.

“I kind of like when Elias gets his shirt dirty. It’s kind of like he did Play for Anders.”

One statement changed three years of beliefs that I had previously held.

While there are times when I want to live in the sadness and grief that I felt in the months immediately following Anders’s death, there is a parallel reality that the best way to honor the life of my son is to continue living life and telling his story.

That story is going to involve stains, bumps, and tears. So today, I am thankful for a changing perspective. Holding onto the physical things of this world isn’t worth it because they are things, they will eventually fade away.


13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.

- 1 Corinthians 16:13


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1 comment

1 Comment

Emily Curtis
Emily Curtis
Nov 05, 2022

Love this. So well-written and a great perspective. 💚

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