Playing here while his father serves

Published 11:35 pm Tuesday, August 4, 2009

For most of the parents who have children playing in the Junior Boys World Series, the trip to Enterprise has been a daily ritual for four days now.

Not for Buford Stephens.

The father of John Michael Stephens is currently serving in Kuwait as part of the Air Force reserve.

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Monica Stephens, his wife and John Michael’s mother, said not having her husband around has been tough

“It’s pretty hard for me because we have three children and I have to make sure that everybody gets to where they need to be,” she said. “It’s also tough because my little girl doesn’t really like baseball, but I think they all understand that this is pretty important for John Michael.”

Monica said her husband has always taken an active role in recreation sports, and being unable to during the team’s World Series run has been very hard on him.

“I cannot imagine what this must be like for Buford,” she said. “He tells me that it’s harder than anyone can imagine to be thousands of miles away and not be able to watch his child play in a World Series. It’s also tough because even though the games are on the radio, he can’t listen because he’s sleeping when the games are on. It’s an eight hour time difference between here and there.”

Fortunately for Buford, he does have ways of being informed of the team’s progress.

“He called during the Louisiana game and he called twice during the Georgia game,” Monica Stephens said.

“He just asks what the score is and how all the boys are doing and if John Michael has gotten to play. He also really relies on e-mail and on The Messenger because that’s really the only way he can know what all happened during the game.”

John Michael Stephens said it has been tough to play without his father.

“It’s hard ¬knowing that he’s not in the stands watching,” he said.

Fortunately for the entire family, they will get to relive the experience when Buford returns home.

“My mom has been recording the games with her camera, so we’ll watch it whenever he gets back,” John Michael Stephens said.