Monday, June 01, 2015

Prayer Request


I have not been a great blogger lately. I've come here less and less more and more. My appearances have sometimes been limited to flogging my latest piece of writing elsewhere (usually in some newspaper or magazine you have to pay to read) and then sending you there (and, on top of that, asking you to write the editors of said journals to tell them what a swell guy I am.)

In other words, I've been a jerk.

I offer that blanket apology (and a small blanket it is; if it were winter, you'd freeze...) because I really do have a serious request to make. I want you to offer up some prayers.

They're not for me; I wouldn't be that selfish when I've been so casual with our relationship. They're for a good friend of mine, Big Jay Atton.


Big Jay, maybe 2011?


I've known Jay for 18 years. When we met, he was a kid of 20 and I had just been asked by another ballplayer to manage a softball team over in South Boston's M Street Softball League, a premier fast-pitch league in Boston. The first player I met on the team was Jay. As I say, he was 20. However, it was hard to judge his age. I only found it out years later by doing retrograde math. Jay was maybe 6' 6" and weighed probably 270, but he had (as now) a real baby face. He could have been anywhere between 16 and 25.


Jay, 1998


He was -and still is - the most enthusiastic lover of softball I'd ever met. I was a nut about the game, always keeping stats and coming up with arcane formulations for comparing one player to another, and he was ready to talk strategy for - literally - hours at a time. We hit it off immediately. And we've been teammates, in more than that one league, every year since then. I've managed him, on occasion he's managed me, and when neither one of us was the manager, his Uncle Jack usually took the job.


BIG Jay, somewhere around 2007, I think

 
OK, I could go on and on telling you about my relationship with Jason Atton, but maybe you're wondering why he needs prayers. I apologize for keeping you in suspense for so long.

This past weekend, Jay suffered a heart attack while visiting with family in Houston Texas. Once hospitalized, we all found out that Jay had been keeping something from us. His kidneys were bad. He has had almost complete kidney failure and, in addition to his heart troubles, it is likely he will need a kidney transplant. Barring that, he's looking at dialysis for the foreseeable future.

So, as might imagine, he needs every prayer available.

Not that you have to have some sort of sparkling record for God to hear prayers about you, but Jay deserves them. He's a huge gentle giant with the joy of a kid. One of the funniest men I know, his size and demeanor sometimes leads people to believe he's not as intelligent as he is. And let me tell you - Jay Atton is THE smartest ballplayer with whom I've ever shared a field. I mean that in the way it reads, that he's savvy about softball in ways most people are not, but I also mean it as testament to his real-life intelligence. He's one smart cat. I've had teammates who are as intelligent as Jay, but none more so. It took me a while to realize that to a full extent, since he's always being so (usually intentionally) goofy, but it's true.
 


One of my favorite photos from softball.
L to R - me, Fast Freddie Goodman, Big Jay (with Joe Baszkiewicz lurking almost out of frame to the right.)
 Notice, if you will, the way the bench area tilts towards the field. Jay is standing on the lower end of it, while I stand on the higher end. He still makes me and Fred look like midgets.


I could go on with Big Jay stories and I'm sure I'll write a few more as time goes on. But, for now, I'll just ask, once again, for your kindest thoughts and prayers. The Big Man, one of my dearest friends, needs them. He's strong-willed, so he'll take it from a certain point and beat the hell out of it, but he could use your hands right now.

Soon, with (God willing) more better stuff.


20 comments:

joeh said...

I do believe in prayer, though I'm probably hitting below 300. Not a terrible average, but hopefully I can help drive a double in the gap for Big Jay...it sounds like he deserves a good bounce.

Jackie said...

I am praying for Jay and for the doctors and nurses who are ministering to him.
Because of your blog, I feel that I know him and call him 'friend. '
I do pray for a great increase in his kidney function ( and I KNOW that can happen because it happened with my Mama in January. ) I pray for wisdom for his doctors and healing for Jay.
"Dear Heavenly Father. I pray that you surround Jay this evening with Your love and comfort. I thank You for hearing our prayers concerning Jay. Dear Lord, please heal the weakness in Jay's kidneys....strengthen his heart, and enable him to be up and about again. I thank You for Your mercy and Your love. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen. "

Tabor said...

Of course I will pray for him as you request.

Suldog said...

Thank you, friends. I certainly do appreciate it.

The Broad said...

I will add him to my prayer list. The power of prayer is a wonderful thing. God bless him and God bless you, Sully...

Craig said...

I will certainly pray for him.

That's a REALLY big man, and way too young to be checking out just yet. . .

OldAFSarge said...

Prayers are up and will continue.

Stay strong Big Jay!

(not necessarily your) Uncle Skip, said...

You already know the prayers are coming from here.
I have had the pleasure of briefly meeting Big Jay, I can vouch that he is goofy and a truly sweet man.

Joseph Baszkiewicz said...

Good piece Sully. Jay will love it. (And the youthful pics you posted). I know he thinks highly of you as well. I will gladly throw those new shin pads aside to have Jay hit me with a pitch again someday.

Daryl said...

done

messymimi said...

Yes, he will be added to the daily prayer list.

Maggie May said...

I pray the same as Jackie, that Jay's kidneys will be strengthened and for the wisdom of the doctors and nurses.
Trusting in Him........

Hard to believe a big guy like that can become so ill!
All the best for him.....
Maggie x

Tasha said...

I haven't stopped sending all my positive thoughts his way since I was alerted to his condition. Jay has the utmost respect for you and will sincerely enjoy reading this article. I truly hope that he will make a full recovery and be taking the field with you for more summers to come. Jay's one of the nicest, smartest, most reliable, and stubborn people I know. He certainly deserves all the well wishes he's receiving! He will NOT be beaten by this! #44Strong

Miriam said...

I am sorry to hear this and am sending many good thoughts his way. I don't do prayers, per se, but trust me that my heart goes out to Jay and his family. Please also pass along to Jack my wishes for Jay's recovery and return to health. Jack and I worked together for many years, I hope he remembers me.

Shammickite said...

I'll be sending prayers, positive thoughts, good vibrations, crossing fingers and knocking on wood, and whatever else I can dream up that might be beneficial to Jay's health. He's a good friend of yours, you have mentioned him often in your baseball stories. And I bet he's a really nice guy. Keep smiling Jay.... there are a lot of people out here in blogland thinking of you thanks to your good friend Sully.

Joanna Jenkins said...

i am a big believer ion the Power of Prayer and am sending them to Big Jay.
I'm praying for a full and complete recovery and an easy journey through all of this.
You're a good friend, Jim.

It's.a.crazy.world said...

I didn't see your post until today...I've been rather absent too. Consider it done, Jim. Hope Jay will recover and be out on the field.

It's.a.crazy.world said...

You need only ask...I will do my best, and hopefully Jay will be out there on the field again. Hugs.

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