I was never lucky enough to watch Zach Farmer throw a baseball.
That thought crossed my mind on Saturday as southern Ohio gathered to celebrate the life of a pitcher taken much too soon. I missed out on his All-American career at Piketon, and I missed out on his fabulous freshman season at Ohio State. Having moved to the area in spring 2014, Zach’s baseball career was tragically already over before I even knew his name.
But even though I was never able to even watch him so much as play catch, I’ll forever be inspired by him.
I only had the opportunity to meet Zach twice, both times earlier during the high school baseball season earlier this year. The first time I spoke to him, he spent a half an hour on the phone with me despite battling pneumonia and a weakened immune system. He could have just as easily rescheduled, but he spent what little energy he had to make my life easier —as if I needed it.
To me, it seemed that Zach saw cancer not as a burden, but as a responsibility — one that only he could handle. It was up to him to share his story, to spread the word about bone marrow transplants and to live life to the fullest. And boy did he ever live his life to the fullest.
Zach did more with his final month than most do with a lifetime. After learning that his cancer had returned in mid-July, he got married, celebrated a birthday, met his boyhood idol and made his way into baseball history via Randy Johnson’s Hall of Fame induction speech. As a man not much older than Zach, it makes my head spin thinking about how much he accomplished in such a short amount of time.
I may have never known Zach Farmer as a baseball player, but I knew him as a person. That’s more than enough for me.
Reach Alex Hider at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931 or on Twitter @PDTSportsWriter