Meadows spends morning

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 10, 2000

with TES students


Staff Writer

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Troy Elementary School students had the opportunity to rub elbows with a professional baseball player on Thursday.

Pike County native and starting pitcher for the Kansas City Royals visited the school and recognized them for raising money to help the March of Dimes during Troy Bank and Trust KidsAdvantage Club Walkmania.

Although they couldn’t put those leg muscles to work because of the rain, the students still enjoyed spending time with a role model.

The top "walkers" were: Jake Smith, Marx Bray and Johnston Watkins. Tripp Blackmon was the top kindergarten fund raiser, Justin Young took that honor for the first grade and Bryan Teal brought in the most money of all the fifth graders.

Mrs. Christian’s fourth grade class raised the most money as a class and will be honored with a pizza party at a later date.

Dianne Smith, chairwoman of the Pike County March of Dimes, said Troy Elementary School raised close to $3,000 for the cause of helping babies get a healthy start in life.

While some of the students took home autographed baseballs and trophies, each one took home words of wisdom from Meadows, who has been honored with Brian Meadows Days today and yesterday.

Since they couldn’t walk because of the weather, the students got to talk.

"I’m living proof your dreams can happen," Meadows told the elementary school children.

At the age of 24, Meadows has been playing baseball since he was 5 years old ­ the same age of some of his audience.

One student asked Meadows why he started playing baseball.

"I played the game for fun and, in high, school, got a little more serious," Meadows replied.

He said he started playing "just because it was something to do" during the summer.

Meadows grew up a "huge" Atlanta Braves fan and, now, has pitched to some of those he considered heroes.

"The first time I walked onto the field (in Atlanta) I was intimidated," Meadows said.

Who’s been his toughest opposition?

"Tony Gwynn is one of the best I’ve ever thrown to," Meadows said when asked who he’s faced on the mound.

The pitcher was asked if he gets nervous before every game.

"I think your more nervous sitting in the dugout than being on the field," Meadows said.

"Before the game starts, I’m very nervous…at the same time, it’s still a lot of fun."

And, if you were wondering, Meadows’ fast ball has been clocked at 94 miles per hour.

But, one of the best parts of being a professional baseball player, Meadows said, is "being able to talk to people you idolized growing up."

He may be making big bucks in the major leagues, but Meadows credits his father, Edwin Meadows, with being his role model.

"He’s the one that taught me discipline," Meadows said of his father.

Brian Meadows Days events will continue with the First National Bank of Brundidge Brian Meadows Golf Classic beginning at 11 a.m. at the Brundidge Country Club.

Tonight, families can join the pro during "Baseball, Hotdogs, Apple Pie and Brian Meadows," sponsored by Bill Jackson Chevrolet, at the Pike County Fairgrounds. The event will be from 5:30 p.m. until 9 p.m.