Ken and Jayden

October 2022 TeamMates of the Month: Baseball and Balance

There may not be a TeamMates match that loves baseball as much as Lux eighth-grader Jayden and his mentor Ken. Jayden proudly wears his competitive team’s gear to school and every week, he fills Ken in on the weekend’s games. Ken recalls having to travel 40 miles from his hometown to play on the closest team growing up and watching the New York Yankees on his family’s black and white television.

However, it was a football coach who he considers to be one of his mentors growing up, who modeled values he and Jayden discuss, too. “I learned so much about sportsmanship, being fair, working hard,” said Ken. “He was definitely an influence on my life and my buddies’ lives.”

Ken is proud to see Jayden carry on a humble attitude with baseball and in life. “He never brags about himself or any of his talents,” said Ken. “You’ve got to drag it out of him [when he excels].” 

The difference between Ken and other adults in his life, said Jayden, is their enjoyment playing board games. 

“I’ve taught him some card games, he taught me some card games,” said Jayden. “Playing games is entertaining, but we also talk about baseball and what’s going on in life.”

“Jayden has a very good perspective of life and family, what’s important,” said Ken, “I am totally in awe regarding the love he has for his family.”

Lately they have been discussing balancing athletics and academics. Meeting with Ken helps with that, Jayden described. “I can just come here and play games and calm myself instead of stressing about school the whole time.”

“We make up our own rules for the games and just laugh,” said Ken. “He encourages me to win. He’s happy when I win, but you can tell in his eyes he’s still proud that he wins most of the time.” 

“I usually win, and no one else likes me to win all the time, but he deals with it,” said Jayden. 

“And I was just talking about how humble you are,” laughs Ken.