Stepping up to the plate: Canton softball and baseball try to lift spirits through sports
The Canton softball and baseball teams have been on a roller coaster of emotions this weekend.
"It's shocking and scary because one day your happy your winning a playoff game headed to the next round and then your town is gone," said Brooke Arnold, junior third-baseman for Canton Eagles softball team.
Friday night each team celebrated a big win, Saturday the were overcome with anxiety as seven tornadoes went through East Texas. The largest an EF-3 tornado, ripped through the heart of Eagles country.
"You could hear the constant hum of that tornado go right by my house. We all got underneath the mattress and let it go passed. I was texting my team to get down for cover it's headed right for Canton," said Raegan Busby, sophomore center-fielder for Canton Eagles softball.
"It'll be tough for a lot of them. It's traumatic for these kids to see what's going on. I'm 55 years old and I've never seen anything like it," said Jeff Priest, Head Baseball Coach of the Canton Eagles.
Once the storm settled and thankfully everyone was accounted for, both teams joined other volunteers trying to restore their town to it's previous state.
"We've all seen tornado damage from a far, but being in the middle of it where a house that used to be there isn't there anymore. Trees are twisted was they aren't supposed to be. It was very surreal, and the girls didn't stand around they just saw a need and did it," said Russell Smith, Head Softball Coach of the Canton Eagles.
"We started about 8:30 this morning, cutting trees down and other stuff. I mean it's devastating to see the magnitude of this," said Coach Priest.
Wednesday these athletes will return to classes for the first time this week. Now all they can hope is that the game they love, the same one that gives them a break from their everyday lives, will do the same for their town.
"We get out here and we just enjoy being around each other. We don't forget about what happened, but you get just a little bit of a break," said Gracie Chavez, senior catcher.
"For this next game we're playing not just for ourselves, our the people in the stands, we're playing for our town. This is for everybody and we are going to try and go as far as we can, " said Busby.
"It's hurting all of us, but we're trying to do it for our city and our community and hopefully we can go get a win," said Blayne Clower, sophomore outfielder.