Colby Price, a graduate of the Nederland, Texas Babe Ruth League program, is a gifted athlete. However, Colby's impact on the field pales in comparison to his work off it.
Colby's life took a turn this past summer during the 2015 Babe Ruth Southwest 17-18 Regional Tournament held in Rogers, Arkansas when he met Dylan Kerkhoff from Siloam Springs, Arkansas.
Dylan is 10-years-old and was born with achondroplasia, which is the most common form of dwarfism. He also has a slight sensory disability which makes it difficult for him to want to naturally interact with people. According to his mom Mendi, Dylan does not play baseball, but attended an Anaheim Angeles game a few years ago when visiting relatives and has attended several games for the local team, the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. His favorite number is 7.
Dylan began to watch baseball when his family served as a Host Family for the 2011 Babe Ruth Southwest 13-Year-Old Regional Tournament. The two boys that stayed with the Kerkhoff's during the tournament formed a bond with Dylan and kept in touch with the Kerkhoff family during the past years through social media.
The Kerkhoff's found out through Facebook that the same boys and their team would be in town for the 2015 17-18 Regional Tournament. So they took Dylan to a game to surprise the boys that had stayed with them in 2011.
While they were watching the game, Dylan noticed a player with #7 on his shirt (his favorite number) that was on the same team as the players who stayed with his family. This player was Colby Price. Dylan began to pay attention to only Colby, videotaping him with his cell phone. Colby had a big game, hitting two home runs, giving Dylan many reasons to cheer.
After the game, the Kerkhoff's waited to congratulate the players who they hosted in 2011. However, Dylan walked to the other section of the bleachers, on his own, to shake #7's hand. Anyone that knows Dylan knows this was a big step for him as he is usually uncomfortable around strangers. Dylan proceeded to shake Colby's hand and took a picture with him. Dylan told Colby he was his biggest fan.
Colby indicated that Dylan made his day. The next day, Colby called the Kerkhoff's to set up a visit with their family. Colby had taken it upon himself to seek Dylan out through his teammates who stayed with Dylan during the 2011 tourney. Later that afternoon, Colby made a special trip to deliver one of his home run balls autographed especially for Dylan. Dylan was excited to see Colby and get the ball. Colby and Dylan have remained friends every since. Colby continues to keep in touch with the Kerkhoff family, especially Dylan.
Colby is currently a freshman at Panola, having graduated Nederland, Texas High School in 2015. He is majoring in business administration and continues to play baseball.
Babe Ruth League was able to interview Colby about his special buddy, Dylan:
What position(s) do you play? How long did you play Cal Ripken/Babe Ruth League?
Colby: I play outfield, any of the three positions. During my time in Babe Ruth, I also played second base.
You're a freshman at Panola College and will be playing baseball for the, correct? What is your major?
Colby: Yes, I am a freshman at Panola and will be playing baseball for them. My major is business administration.
Did you know anything about Mendi or Dylan prior to this?
Colby: No I did not.
When Dylan first walked over to you, what happened?
Colby: When Dylan approached me, he asked me to take a picture with me. He said his favorite number was 7, and after watching me play, he said he was my biggest fan.
What made you want to reach out to Dylan afterwards?
Colby: Dylan truly made my day when he said he was my biggest fan and wanted to take a picture with me. It really warmed my heart and I just wanted to reach out to him. He is a special young man, and I wanted to provide him a special moment by autographing and giving him one of the two home run balls I hit.
Have you kept in touch with Dylan and his family?
Colby: I have kept in touch with them ever since the tournament. My baseball career will end one day, but seeing the impact our friendship has had for both Dylan and me, is life-changing experience I plan to enjoy and cherish.
Anything else you would like to say?
Colby: I never intended to get the attention I have received from this act. I simply wanted to make Dylan's day as he had made mine. Attention from a special fan doesn't happen every day for an 18-year-old baseball player. It was a special moment that will stay with me for the rest of my life. We have a special friendship I hope to see develop even further.
Babe Ruth League is very proud of Colby Price and is proud of our efforts to teach the game of life through youth baseball and softball. Colby is a special young man, athlete, and the perfect example of the kind of role model an athlete can be when they have strong character, compassion and values. Colby's actions continue to be more amazing than his skills on the field, of which he has plenty. Colby was named MVP of the 2015 regional tournament, received the 2013 Mid County Senior Babe Ruth MVP Award, and has been selected to numerous all-star teams over the years.