There’s a special bond that forms among Little League® parents, and it grows stronger with each step of the way as their squad moves through the tournament trail. That was certainly the case with Northwood Little League as it captured titles at the district, state, and region levels, on its way to Williamsport. The team from Taylor, S.C., made it to the 2015 Little League Baseball® World Series with the backing of strong community support and a set of parents as close and friendly as the players.
Lekicia Gist, whose son Terrence played for the Southeast Region Champions, has known most of the parents on the team since the kids played coach-pitch together at the age of seven.
“We come from a close-knit community with Little League being a real big deal,” said Mrs. Gist. “One of things us parents strive for is to build relationships and build a family to support each other and the kids. That starts at Northwood and it went all the way through to the Little League World Series. Our bond kept getting stronger.”
Along the journey to Williamsport, the parents of the 14 players from Northwood Little League would schedule time to get together at different functions, and always made sure they ate together just like a family would.
“Whether it was after practice or some other event, if we could find a restaurant that could handle fourteen families, we made a point of eating together,” said Mrs. Gist. “That helps build a bond for parents and the kids.”
While the main focus is always on the players having a once in a lifetime experience in Williamsport, it’s important for the parents to share that as well. Having such a tight, friendly group allowed the Northwood Little League parents to do just that.
“Williamsport was the best!” said Mrs. Gist. “I told Terrence and the boys that this will go down as the best summer ever. Nothing will top it. We watch the Little League World Series every year, and never dreamed we would play in Williamsport. We thought that was way out of reach. It was great to get there, and have everyone be part of the whole experience. People in Williamsport were really nice, and friendly. They treated the players and the parents great. It was the most amazing time!”
What was also amazing was when Terrence came up to bat in the top of the third inning against Rhode Island. Terrence’s twin sister, Tyeisha, who plays Little League Softball®, was being interviewed by ESPN. Just as the interview started, Terrence hit a mammoth homerun over the light tower at Lamade Stadium, and guess who couldn’t control her excitement... Terrence’s proud mom.
“The funny thing about that is when the reporter came over to us, we were standing right in front of my husband, and he pushed us away so he could watch Terrence bat,” laughed Mrs. Gist. “I was going to be interviewed after my daughter. All I heard was the ping of the bat hitting the ball, and I just knew it was out. I didn’t know what to do! I was so excited! The reporter couldn’t even ask me a question. The interview was over. When people saw it on TV, my Facebook page blew up. It was like the entire state of South Carolina was watching!”
Mrs. Gist explained that while Terrence is still on “cloud nine” from his experience in Williamsport, she and the rest of the parents came down to earth once they got home and back to their normal routines. And, for the Gist family, especially in the spring and summer, a big part of that routine is Little League. In addition to his twin, Terrence’s nine year old sister, Tyjana, also plays Little League Softball, and his older, TJ, played in the Northwood Little League program a few years prior.
After a long summer of baseball, Terrence is taking some much deserved rest from the sport, deciding to skip fall baseball. He even notably said during an interview on ESPN's Baseball Tonight that he was worried about missing football practice while competing in the World Series. While he may not be picking up a bat and glove in the very near future, the memories of Williamsport won’t fade anytime soon for him, his teammates and the parents of Northwood Little League.