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Landon Davis had the kind of short answers you would expect from a young athlete dealing with his first encounter with the press.
Davis, an 8-year-old Community Christian School student who has severe hemophilia A with inhibitors, signed to become an official member of the Barton College Bulldogs baseball team roster Monday.
“It feels good,” Landon said after the signing ceremony attended by coach Jim Chester and the entire Bulldogs team at Hardy Alumni Hall.
Landon, who also has a serious heart defect, said he hopes to excel at “batting” and “to help make the team do good.”
The draft day ceremony was organized by Team Impact, a national nonprofit that connects children facing serious illnesses to college athletic teams to forge lifelong bonds.
“We attract talent at Barton College,” said college President Doug Searcy. “Landon, you are joining a good group, and you are going to bring some things to our team that we really need. It is a family at Barton College. We do things together. These guys work very hard together.”
Searcy said all Bulldogs student-athletes are expected to work hard.
“I am excited that you are ready to do that with us,” Searcy told Landon. “Anybody that signs here at Barton College must be part of the family and back up their brothers and sisters on the court and on the field, and we are excited about that. And most of all, anybody that signs at Barton College has got to give 100 percent in everything they do and listen to Coach.”
“Landon, it is great to have you in our athletic department,” Barton Athletic Director Todd Wilkinson said. “We are always grateful we can sign an outstanding student and athlete into the Barton athletic program. Watching you perform already and the energy you are bringing to the team, I know it’s going to be so valuable as we go forward keeping the team motivated.”
Wilkinson said Landon is going to be “that guy that brings that energy when things might not be looking too good.”
“You can pull them up and maybe when things are going good, we keep going in that direction,” Wilkins said. “It’s going to be awesome to have you in the program, and we welcome you. You take care of these guys. You pull them forward.”
Landon’s mother, Ashley Davis, also signed the paperwork while she sat at the podium with Landon’s father, Mark Davis.
“This is a big deal for Landon,” Ashley Davis said. “He is not supposed to play any contact sports or any kind of team sports because it’s dangerous for him with his bleeding disorder, so being able to be part of a team like this is a big deal for him and for us, especially with it being a college team. All of his friends are coming to school talking about the sports teams that they play on, and Landon really hasn’t had that, so now, he has it and he can come back and brag on his team, and it’s a big deal with it being the Barton Bulldogs.”
Before the signing, Landon joined an impromptu game of batting balloons around with the players and some of the 50 attendees.
“That was a lot of fun, and it was really special to see the bond and the friendship that he has already made with the team that they can just jump right in there with him and have a good time, it warms my heart,” Davis said. “We are just thankful for this opportunity for him. It’s really special for him and for us. We are just really thankful to Barton and to Team Impact for setting it all up.”
Pitcher and outfielder Troy Maslowski, a senior, said he was excited to see Landon join the team.
“He’s going to really bring a lot of energy and culture,” Maslowski said. “He’s going to bring a lot of spunk. We are really happy for him to be a part of this team.”
Searcy wished Landon and the team well for the year.
“These guys will appreciate your contribution to the team,” Searcy said. “Your encouragement, your enthusiasm and your support will make a difference as we step on the field the whole year and we are thrilled for this day.”