Baseball bonded the Collins family, culminating when Michael played in the junior college World Series in Enid, Oklahoma, while Jim was coaching University High School in the Illinois state finals--seven hundred miles apart Those bonds reached new heights with Jim as a head coach and Michael his assistant at University High School.
A doorbell rings and lives are changed forever. A drunk driver and a horrific crash. Two brain surgeries. Five days in the hospital. A funeral. All played out in a very dramatic and public manner. But with all the pain comes some miracles, including a "Pay It Forward" movement with positive impact around the world in honor of Michael.
Knowing it is what Michael would want, Jim returns to the dugout to coach the University High School Pioneers. How does a team of high school kids attend the funeral of their assistant coach one day, then resume their season the next?
Players, parents, and coaches pull together unlike any team Jim has coached before. There are no complaints about playing time, just a focus on the emotional well-being of this savvy group of teenagers and their still-grieving head coach. One post-season win would be an upset. A regional championship seemed impossible.
The team discovers that no adversity on the field can come close to what they have already experienced off it. Coaches, players, and parents learn the power of one team playing with a purpose bigger than the game.
The season ends where Jim never could have imagined that first day of practice.