For Shawn Kerr and his son Jordan, there’s always time to play catch. After all, they have to stay sharp. They have a game coming up next week.
“A lot of kids, they don’t hang out with their parents,” said Shawn. “My son wants to go play ball with me. And I want to go play ball with him.”
Monday nights they play softball with the Springfield Police Department team. “I think we might be the only dad and son combo that consistently play together,” said Jordan. “Which is pretty cool.”
To quote Field of Dreams: Is this heaven? “We play with a lot of people whose dads either have moved away or aren’t here,” said Jordan. “Just being able to be like, ‘Dad gets to come play with me every Monday,’ is just, I think it’s pretty special.”
“He’s just my friend on top of that,” added Shawn. And Fourth of July is extra special to the Kerrs. Jordan is currently serving in the Army National Guard. Shawn is a Gulf War veteran, and now a staff sergeant with the 1107th Aviation Group here in Springfield.
Jordan’s grandpa, Shawn’s dad, is a Vietnam vet. He also comes to every game.
“I like to brag.” said Larry. “I get to brag right?”
He’s so proud of his son and grandson. “They run like a deer, they hit like a cannon. When they get up there, they’re gonna do their best and give it all they’ve got because that’s the spirit that they have.”
It’s a spirit Larry wanted to see in Shawn when he first got out of the Air Force in 1999. He knew the sports would help. “He had put a team together, a softball team,” said Shawn. “So when I got back I got to go play with the team.”
And Shawn wasted no time instilling it in Jordan. “I’ve basically been on a ballfield since I was born,” said Jordan.
“His very first softball game he was probably six months old,” laughed Shawn. “And I hired a babysitter to baby-sit him in the dugout.”
And after three generations serving America, on this Fourth of July they say this game is therapeutic. “I mean that’s kind of why we do this is just to get away from the whole military life,” said Jordan. “You get out here and it’s kind of a break.”
“I get to be with my kid all the time,” added Shawn. “It’s nice. My dad, he’s been a mentor to me. And I want to be a mentor for Jordan.”
For Larry, it’s all pretty simple. “Watching my son and grandson play, that’s my favorite part,” he said.