COVID-19 has ravaged the sporting ranks on every level, including having an impact on local school rosters and teacher shortages.
However, in a unique turn of events,, one elementary school in Misouri had a Major League guest add some professional flavor to its depleted baseball program. Last Monday, St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Harrison Bader surprised students at Meramec Elementary School in Clayton, Missouri, when he arrived as their physical education teacher.
So when Harrison Bader fills in as a substitute P.E. teacher it’s cool, but when I do it I end up getting bullied by the 12 year olds?????? https://t.co/N1na6yFAR8
— Katie Woo (@katiejwoo) January 12, 2022
According to reports, the staff at the school has thinned, following a pattern at most Missouri schools; however, Missouri Sen. Brian Williams told the principal that Bader was interested in helping the school out. Fortunately, Meramec needed a PE teacher, so the kids were told they had a unique visitor.
“Being a substitute science or math teacher, even at that level, would be above my pay grade,” Bader said local broadcast outlet KSDK.
“In the game that they played they had a lot more success than I did,” Bader said. “I’ve had a lot more success on the field playing in front of St. Louis fans.”
an elementary school in Missouri was short staffed so St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Harrison Bader stepped in as a substitute Physical Ed teacher pic.twitter.com/pme0EuH3KS
— Bush Leaguer (@BushLeague101) January 12, 2022
According to reports, Bader rolled with the students for an hour. He also learned the children’s games that they play at school.
“We introduced him as a sub, or a guest teacher, and so they were all like wearing masks and he didn’t have a uniform. It was like wait a second who is this? What’s going on?” principal Patrick Fisher said.
Students were surprised to see that Golden Glove centerfielder, Bader, behind the mask.
Fisher also revealed that Bader left some autographed swag, signing some of the student’s hats and other Cardinals gear.
Just when I thought I couldn't enjoy Harrison Bader any more https://t.co/LeLHoL34zN
— Ben Clemens (@_Ben_Clemens) January 8, 2022
“It was nice to be in St. Louis and not have to worry about which righty throwing 100mph was trying to take my lunch that day,” Bader said to KDSW.
The school has experienced some of the same challenges at the start of the second semester that other schools have, making it a struggle at Meramec Elementary.
“It was really just a way to boost morale for the kids to have a lot of fun and make some memories,” principal Patrick Fisher said to local media.
“It’s been a bit of all-hands-on-deck, so when somebody like your local representative or here in St. Louis, the Cardinals have a special place in the community; reach out to the schools, it really does makes a big difference.”
Harrison Bader you are AWESOME!!!
— Coach Wenzel 🇺🇸 (@CoachWenzel) January 13, 2022
Across the country, thousands of schools have not reopened since last week after the wintery blast that took the country by storm and mixed with the problems associated with the outbreak of COVID-19.
For example, last week in Boston, 1,000 public school staffers were out; this included 650 teachers out of the classroom.
Bader acknowledged the community work by his teammates, especially Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright, as part of his inspiration to come to the school.
The longtime Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright was the 2020 recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award. The honor is the league’s top honor for philanthropy. Wainwright and his wife Jenny have personally resourced Water Mission projects across four countries in Africa.
Yadier Molina and Foundation 4 acquired an abandoned school in his hometown neighborhood in Puerto Rico to develop a community center for the arts. Molina and his wife, Wanda Torres, started the foundation in 2010. They specialize in hosting charity events to help children in Puerto Rico who are sick, disadvantaged or have special needs.
The Cardinals lead the charge to help those in need during these tumultuous times.
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