There’s no crying in baseball.
But it’s going to be tough for TCU eyes Tuesday night.
If you’ve followed the Horned Frogs baseball story, you know who 7-year-old Micah Ahern is.
He is the Frogs’ superhero. Their teammate. Their friend and inspiration.
The latest of many outstanding links and videos about Micah and the Frogs was produced by the NCAA in time for the College World Series.
Micah’s life had barely begun in 2010 when he was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a deadly form of cancer that attacks small children.
With the help of the Massachusetts-based Team IMPACT program, TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle was introduced to Micah and his parents, Linda and Maurice Ahern of Arlington.
As Team IMPACT explains on its website, “We improve the quality of life for children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses through the power of team.
“The child gains great strength, camaraderie and support and the student athletes are taught lessons about courage, resiliency and life perspective that they can’t learn in a classroom.”
Schlossnagle introduced his players to their newest teammate in fall of 2013. A grant-in-aid signing ceremony, the same kind that any college-bound student-athlete would receive, officially bonded Micah to the Horned Frogs family in 2014.
He is the youngest and littlest of the Frogs, but he’s also the toughest.
“He’s the toughest 7-year-old I’ve ever seen,” said catcher Evan Skoug. “They say that God gives his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers. And we’ve seen that’s true with Micah.”
Together, the Frogs have watched Micah struggle through more than 10 operations, including an experimental proton treatment that the family hoped would halt the spread of the disease.
But the new therapy didn’t work. In a staggeringly sad post on the family’s CaringBridge.org site, Linda Ahern wrote two weeks ago, “Micah’s cancer has progressed. He will no longer be doing the antibody and chemo therapy. Micah will be going on hospice soon. He will be enjoying his remaining days with his family.”
The Frogs learned the news as they prepared, as underdogs, to face Texas A&M in the NCAA Super Regional.
Before boarding the bus at the ball park in College Station on the night they qualified for this College World Series, the victorious TCU players gathered in salute to their sick teammate.
“We know you won’t give up, Micah,” Skoug said. “And we won’t either.”
At various places around the TCU team this week — on their caps, on T-shirts and signs — you’ll find the Micah “logo,” a letter “M” inside a Superman-like shield.
Each day in Omaha, the Frogs have said, they have prayed for and dedicated their work to their youngest teammate.
On Tuesday night, God willing, Micah and the Ahern family will quietly join the Frogs to cheer them on against Coastal Carolina. An anonymous donor from the TCU family has granted the Aherns the use of a private plane to travel to Omaha, as long as the severe pain in Micah’s spine will allow him to make the trip.
“I am desperate for Micah to not worry about pain, but rather have a great time with his guys,” Linda Ahern wrote Monday. “Please pray for this with me.”
Micah Ahern’s “guys,” without doubt, will be overwhelmed to see him.