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Apr. 30—Charlie Parker can't wait until the final out at Eastern baseball games.
When the game commences, she and her twin brother Cortland slip through the fence, run out on the field, and start to gather up Mountaineers for a celebratory game of ring around the rosie.
EOSC coach and father to the twins Matt Parker said the game has become so popular, it's now a winning post-game tradition in Wilburton.
"She now thinks that's the only reason we go to the baseball field," he said. "So we tell her the boys have to win, and then you can ask them."
Luckily for Charlie and Courtland, there hasn't been a short supply of wins from the Mountaineers.
"Charlie is the social butterfly, so she rolls right in to the team meeting the other day on a dead run, rolls right up into the middle of them, gives a thumbs up and says 'good job, boys! Time to ring around the rosie!'" Matt said.
Mom Lindsey Parker said the festivities began in March when her kids were playing with assistant coach Noe Ruiz and his wife Rebecca after a game and Charlie had an idea.
Only a small group of about four or five players joined in that day, with Lindsey saying they had to actually teach the game to two of them. But since then, the circle has widened and become a viral sensation on social media.
Now, with a win at home, Charlie gathers up her brother and goes down the dugout picking players to join in on her new favorite game. Matt Parker said even professional scouts are asking him when they can join in on the fun.
"She's rounding them up now," he said. "And she's the boss. So it's hard to tell her anything other than 'yes ma'am, I'll do it.'"
And the game has become just as much fun for the Mountaineers as it is for Charlie and Cortland.
"About the fifth or sixth inning, when the guys can tell they're about to win, the guys are like 'y'all ready for ring around the rosie?'" Lindsey said. "But more than anything, we just appreciate young gentlemen doing those kinds of things."
She said it's important for these young men to interact with kids, because it creates deep connections that will last a lifetime. It's a sentiment echoed by her husband, who said he believes interactions like these are what make baseball special.
"They do take time and spend time with not only my kids, but there's kids out here all the time," Matt said. "I think they remember they were young guys at some point too, and that's probably why they fell in love with the game."
And for Lindsey, it's a warming feeling that bring about hope for the days ahead.
"The first time that (it) happened, I bet I watched that video a thousand times," she said. "I can hear my kids giggling...I see the joy that it brings my kids, and it makes me have hope for the future. We get so caught up in what other people think about us, but none of that matters. What matters is the happiness that you're creating."
Contact Derek Hatridge at email@example.com.