Late SeaWolves catcher Chace Numata, doing what he loved. | Photo via Christopher Millette, Erie Times-News.
Without further ado, your Idiotville feel-good story of the week:
This week’s feel-good story begins with a reminder of something horrific – Erie SeaWolves catcher Chace Numata’s tragic death back in September following a fluke accident.
Hearing of Numata’s death stopped me in my tracks. The thought of a healthy professional ballplayer in his 20’s dying was so awful, so senseless, I felt overwhelmed by it even though I’d never seen him play. It was the kind of terrible news that made you question whether the very ground beneath your feet was as sturdy as you’d always thought, or whether the Earth might just open up and swallow you out of nowhere. No good could come of it.
And yet, so many times where there seems no good to be found – people make something good all on their own. This week, the SeaWolves Community Fund announced the Chace Numata Scholarship, which will give $1,000 annually to at least four worthy scholar athletes in the Erie area. Just like that, because of the dedicated good works of our community, Chace Numata’s name goes from something synonymous with tragedy to something entirely different – a celebration of achievement, and hope for the future.
The Numata family will join together with Erie SeaWolves players and front office staff each year to review the applicants and determine the winners. They’ll probably cry, at least the first time, then they’ll use Chace’s memory to help make the world just a little bit better, which I think is the best thing any of us could hope our legacy could bring.
The SeaWolves and the Numata family – which, remember, are from Hawaii and have no obligation to help the community where their son died – deserve enormous credit for this.
The Erie Otters deserve credit, too, as they’ll be wearing “SeaWolves inspired” jerseys this Saturday, Nov. 16, and auctioning them off through next Thursday the 22nd, with all proceeds going to the scholarship fund.
By all accounts, Chace Numata was a good man: fun to be around, a favorite teammate, a bright light. The people that knew him best weren’t about to let all that good fade away with their memories. Due to their hard work in the wake of tragedy, they’ve helped turn one of life’s worst experiences into a better future. We would all do well to live that example.