In defeat, Brother Martin’s Seward stands tall

daniels    I have conducted many television interviews with high school athletes after state playoff games.
    There is no in between. There is pure joy over victory or anguish in defeat. Eventually, the anguish subsides as players and coaches remember more good than bad.
    But last Saturday afternoon at Tulane’s Turchin Stadium was different.
    Brother Martin was eliminated in the 5A baseball quarterfinals by Sam Houston. I was interviewing a player and a head coach who were heavily invested in producing a different outcome.
    I have known centerfielder Jacob Seward since he was 8. He may have grown up to be a man, but he hadn’t changed a bit. Jacob was serious about his baseball and his academics. He was at the top of the lineup in both.
    This was his last chance to win a state title. And this year was not your average senior season.
    Jacob’s father Jimmy passed away unexpectedly in January. One of the first to reach out to Jacob after Jimmy’s sudden passing was Brother Martin head coach Mark Wisniewski. If anyone knew the emptiness of losing a parent in high school, it was Jacob’s head coach. Both of Wisniewski’s parents died while he was a student at Brother Martin.
    The young men on the Brother Martin team loved Jimmy. They inscribed “JS” on their caps and dedicated the season to a man who coached many of the Crusaders when they first arrived at school.
    Jimmy and Jacob had an interesting relationship. Jimmy coached all of his players hard. When Jacob would make a mistake in the field or strikeout (both rare occurrences), his dad would remind him succinctly they he could do better.
    I would secretly giggle as the perfectionist father watched his perfectionist son angrily stomp back to the dugout.
    Fast forward 10 years, and a flood of memories came rushing in as Jacob walked to the plate for what would be his final high school at-bat.
    I thought about how much Jimmy loved the Tulane Green Wave, about how ironic it would be that his son’s team would finish its season Uptown.
    In the final inning, as Jacob’s mother Jill paced, her son was down to his final strike. Seward singled to center and pumped his fist. Brother Martin got another man on. But the rally fell short.
    It was over, suddenly.
    When this happened hundreds of times in the past, I would do my interviews, thank the head coach and the players and congratulate them on a great year.
    But I was at a loss for words. The head coach was hurting. He wanted very much for Jacob to go out on the field after the final game of the season and grab that championship trophy.
    In the post-game interview, Jacob struggled for answers, and I struggled for questions. We both believed there would be a far different ending. But Jacob answered the questions and didn’t make excuses.
    I thought to myself, Jimmy and Jill had raised a man. And on this second Saturday in May, that would be plenty good enough.
    Ed Daniels is sports director of ABC26 WGNO. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .
Catholic Life Insurance
Wlae
Daughters of Charity
Dorignacs 1