The Tucker Mesker Memorial Classic is an annual softball tournament held, in Corning, CA, during the 2nd weekend in August in honor of its namesake.
Last weekend was the 11th edition, and the stars finally aligned; I both lived in California, and I wasn't otherwise obligated. I got to play.
I have wanted to participate in the tournament and honor the memory of my passed friend and former teammate since its inception in 2009.
Tucker died in a car accident in December, 2008. Since then, his memory, name, his smile, and his love for fun are kept alive by his parents, Rob and Heidi, his older brother, Brant (another friend and former teammate), and his sister Shae.
The Tucker Mesker Memorial Foundation hosts the softball tournament, contributes funds to numerous local community organizations and has provided scholarships to nearly 100 local high school seniors.
I had a blast playing softball. I did get to swallow a dose of humility, playing as a stranger on a team with a group of guys I had never met (except for the 1 I recruited to come with me). The constant reminder that I was there to support the Mesker family and honor Tucker's memory, not to bat cleanup and play shortstop, made that part pretty easy.
The turnout was incredible. The crowd was rowdy. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing more old friends and former teammates, some of whom I hadn't seen in over a decade, and I enjoyed meeting new people.
I hope I have more opportunities to participate in the tournament and do my part in keeping Tucker's fire burning.