A Love Affair With Baseball

by Helena Reynolds
This is a story about a love affair with baseball … and the motivation that love generates.

The day before Christmas 2018, my husband Dave Reynolds was diagnosed with “walled-off pancreatic necrosis” due to gallstones that had caused his pancreas to self-destruct.

This happened 6 months after Dave was inducted into the Puget Sound Senior Baseball Hall of Fame and 3 months of dizziness, shortness of breath, fatigue and dehydration. The physical deterioration was severe and medical folks were struggling to find answers. Dave ended up missing the Roy Hobbs World Series for the first time in 13 years.

The disease essentially caused his pancreas to shut down. He was unable to absorb nutrients and he was literally starving to death. After a procedure that saved a remaining 1/3rd of his pancreas, he endured multiple infections including peritonitis, sepsis and ultimately pancreatic enzyme insufficiency. He had lost more than 60 pounds, his hair fell out and he needed a wheelchair to get around.

After an experimental treatment and much prayer and support, in mid-March Dave awoke after the best sleep he’d had in more than 5 months with no dizziness, and he climbed a set of stairs with no shortness of breath or fatigue. He put the wheelchair away and started physical therapy. Gall bladder surgery was cancelled as abnormalities were inexplicably no longer evident. His health was coming back, and one of his main motivations – in addition to his family – was baseball, specifically the Roy Hobbs World Series in Ft. Myers in 2019.

With daily hard work and the help of a multitude of doctors, therapists, teammates and his family, Dave returned to the mound in July of 2019.  Now the goal was to be able to regain his RHWS playing ability, a bare 6 months after needing a wheelchair for mobility.

On November 10, at Terry Park Stadium in Ft. Myers, Dave pitched 4 1/3 innings of relief to get the win as the Washington Titans beat the Minnesota Bees 6-3 in the opening game of the RHWS 60+ Classics AAAA Division.

A year after being stricken with a little-known debilitating disease, Dave Reynolds was back at the RHWS where he won 2 games and had a successful tournament at the plate.

It was surreal for me to watch the miracle of my husband back on the mound pitching in what seemed to be a dream-come-true scenario.

One thing is certain. For us, the RHWS is far more than a sports tournament that provides fun and entertainment for thousands of families. It also created an inspiration that helped my husband overcome a significant threat to his life. And for that, we will be forever grateful.