The UConn Men’s Baseball Team just signed its newest member.
With a smile on his face, 10-year-old Waylan Prosperie from Willimantic signed on to the UConn Huskies at a ceremony Friday, trading his ball cap for a new UConn one.
Baseball is Waylan’s favorite sport.
“I love the opportunity to come out here and actually get the body moving,” he explained.
But something getting moving can be hard for Waylan. He battles a kidney disorder that takes him in and out of the hospital.
“Wayland has been through so much in his 10 years here on the planet, this is going to be amazing, to see him so happy, to see him, you know, actually able to enjoy something, to have something to look forward to,” his mother Katie Prosperie said.
The Prosperies connected with the Huskies through Team IMPACT, a non-profit that works with children facing serious and chronic illnesses.
As a member of the team, Waylan gets to attend games, practices, and team events, all while building friendships with his teammates, like Christian Fedko.
“Getting to know Waylan has been way more fun for me than I bet it has been for him. Learning so much from him, bringing energy to everything he does, how tough he is, how great the family is as well,” Fedko said.
Fedko said spending time with Waylan and his family, and working with Team IMPACT, has been a blessing.
“The opportunity to be able to just grow with him and share with his family is what I think we're called to do as D1 athletes, as student athletes. It’s the reason why I came to UConn and I’m really proud of Wayland for being so courageous and teaching me so much stuff that I hope, I hope that our teammates can learn from him as well,” Fedko said.
Head Coach James Penders said working with Team IMPACT is an honor and privilege for the team, and that it’s impossible not to smile with someone like Waylan around.
“In order to be good in baseball, someone a lot smarter than I am once said ‘you have to have a lot of little boy in you,’ and what’s funny is that little boys just want to be big boys, and these big boys out here just want to be little boys, so it makes for a really nice recipe, and we’re really looking forward to getting to know him," Penders said.
Waylan said signing with the team was both exciting and nerve-wracking, and that he’s already learned some key game skills, like how to hold his glove, and to keep your eyes on the ball. And when asked if he had any final words for the day, he didn’t hesitate.