Mr. Lakesshares his weekly conversation with former KES student,Chad Wasson (Class of 2010).
For me, Opening Day of the MLB baseball seasonisthe first day of spring. Leather and lumber resonate as the balls fly off the players’ bats and gloves pop as they remove all velocity from the air. The flip side of spring is it also is a time to clean up my barn in preparation for gardening and equine activity.
These two “primavera pastimes” came together this week along with a memory of a former student. I was cleaning away when I found a small bag of beautiful brown dirt. Then I remembered!
Chad Wasson was in Grade 8 the summer of 2006 when he attended a game at historic Fenway Park in Boston. Somehow, he used his boyish charm to find his way onto the infield after the Red Sox’s game.
Chad, always thoughtful and industrious, scooped up a small portion of the infield as a souvenir. Chad was also kind to his teacher as he excitedly offered a share with me upon his return to School. As a fan of the Sox, I was delighted he had thought of me and was thrilled that a little piece of Fenway’s infield had found its way to Nova Scotia.
I phoned Chad in Virginia Beach to tell him that I had “re-discovered” the dirt. He remembered procuring it in detail even suggesting he put it in a small plastic container not a bag! Chad pays close attention to details, an attribute which has come in very handy since he graduated from KES, as he now lands F-18 fighter jets on aircraft carriers for a living!
He confirmed that it is indeed true that he has to land at high speed on a moving 500-foot runway, and the only way to stop is to “catch the wire.” This is a skill that Naval Lieutenant Chad Wasson has accomplished hundreds of times as he devotes himself to continued practice and proficiency of his pilot skills. “Landing on a carrier is essentially a ‘controlled crash; the runway is only 10x the length of the aircraft’” he says without an ounce of trepidation.
“I absolutely love it,” says Chad. “The more I do it, I’m less nervous, but it’s always a thrill.” Chad’s father, Ken, is also well known to our community, especially in rugby circles, and he is a Delta Airline international pilot and a military veteran. “He’s proud of what I do,” says Chad matter-of-factly.
Interestingly, Chad’s hobbies are very earthbound when not flying. Along with his wife Beth, they enjoy gardening and home renovations. They have a young daughter Amelia (as in Earhart), and are expecting their second child shortly. Beth is from Louisiana and has Cajun/Acadian roots; therefore, a trip back to Nova Scotia would interest the entire family once the world opens-up again.
So. A small portion of the Fenway Park infield allowed us to Connect, Converse and Catch-up. I asked Chad what some of his best memories of KES were, and surprisingly he immediately mentioned. “the Highland Games Caber Toss,” which we hold on the Front Hill.
With the advent of our new Prep Baseball Programme, Coach Wamback and I have enjoyed projecting possible spots for a new field. Maybe the Front Hill? When it happens, I will have a small bag of dirt to spread on the infield, thanks to Chad!