One man serving another and a young boy’s dream came alive in Oskaloosa this week. From a laptop at the Lacey Sports Complex in Oskaloosa to a post in the perilous country of Afghanistan, a man can experience his son’s state baseball tournament run thanks to a friend and the Internet.
Kevin Heineman is on post as a public affairs officer in the 185th Air Refueling Wing of the Air Guard from Sioux City. His son, TJ, is a member of the Sergeant Bluff-Luton 11-12 year-old baseball team playing in the state tournament in Oskaloosa. The two are linked through technology and generosity of Randy Kascht.
Kascht is president of the Sergeant Bluff-Luton Little League and also has a son on the team. He provides live stats and a play-by-play so Heineman is able to pick up the feed some 7,000 miles away.
Kascht is able to pick up an Internet connection from the complex types in the data that is sent to a Web site where Heineman logs on and watches the game. The contests do not include video and audio, but he is able to follow the game nonetheless.
“This is my one little step to give back,” said Kascht. “He’s serving me over there and I am serving him in a small way here.”
Kascht has conversations with Heineman via e-mail. During district tournaments Kascht provided the box scores, but knew there had to be more done for the state tournament.
Once the team arrived Saturday, Kascht visited with tournament staff about acquiring an Internet signal, set up a power supply and has been providing the feed for each of the team’s games.
“I told him ‘I can help you not miss home as much. This is just something little I can do for you.’”
TJ, like any boy, would much rather have his dad in the stands. But he understands that this is the next best thing.
“I like to talk to my dad after each game,” said the smiling first baseman. “He either texts me or calls. I like being able to talk to him on the IM.”
Heineman began his tour of duty in May and is scheduled to come home in January.
While many take watching a Little League game for granted, for the Heinemans the generosity of one man has made this Little League tournament something special.