In a strictly clinical sense, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis attacks nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control muscle movement, leading to tremors, weakness and ultimately the inability to use the arms, legs and other parts of the body. For those intimately familiar with the disease, seeing a friend or loved one suffer through its debilitating effects is akin to a nightmare.
This community knows all too well the devastation ALS brings to a body having seen former East Carolina University baseball coach Keith LeClair battle the disease for five years before his death in 2006. His quiet grace and remarkable strength remain an inspiration, and this weekend’s baseball tournament intends to celebrate that spirit and highlight the critical need for funding of ALS research.
The surest sign of Spring’s impending arrival here can be found along Charles Boulevard in Greenville. There, year after year, thousands of East Carolina fans gather to celebrate the start of the baseball season. They fill the stands at Clark-LeClair Stadium, populate the often rowdy Jungle beyond the outfield walls and dream of finally capturing a bid to the College World Series, a goal that has thus far eluded the Pirates.
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