ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Even on a gloomy, gray day out, positivity can shine. Ground broke on the new baseball field at Abilene Christian Schools (ACS) Wednesday morning. The Hudson Wade Memorial Field is named for an ACS fifth grade student who passed away in 2016 after a hard-fought battle with Leukemia.
“It’s a huge day for our school family. It’s a big day for my personal family, because the stadium is going to be named after our- our son that passed away,” said Kirk Wade, Hudson’s father and president of ACS.
Meanwhile, a childhood friend looked to the day as a way to honor Hudson’s legacy and, in a way, pick up where the two boys left off.
“We did everything together, y’know, ever since third grade and then he got leukemia and we didn’t really get to hang out much when he had that,” recalled ACS senior, Keaton Allen of Hudson’s last days.
Hudson’s loved ones told KTAB/KRBC baseball was so important and such a major part of his life, so it was very endearing that the new ACS baseball field be named for him.
“Baseball was a big deal to him,” said Wade. “He grew up in Wylie little league and that’s where we cultivated some friendships, and he developed a love for baseball.”
While family and friends were moved for the idea of an entire baseball field named for their loved one, others expressed elation for the future.
“I’m very excited to hear two specific words uttered, just about where were standing here, in the very near future: Play ball,” Dr. Greg Straughn, ACS Board Chairman said with glee.
The baseball field, estimated at around $3 million, would not have been made possible without generous donors to the private school.
“It takes a special person to make a generational, life changing gift,” Wade explained. “But then to go ahead and say, ‘hey, don’t name it after us, we want you to name it after your son;’ It’s pretty awesome.”
Wade said it was Larry and Eyleen Crain who gave the lion’s share of the donation to ACS, and even gave the beloved couple a nice shoutout during the groundbreaking ceremony.
“When you have a child that dies, your biggest fear is that people are going to forget him,” Wade expressed. “So to have his name and his legacy to live on this campus, where he loved this school and his classmates, for his senior friends to be involved in it, it’s very special to us.”
A baseball field on the ACS campus had been in talks for quite some time, and the groundbreaking marked a major turning point for the athletics department.
“We’ve played baseball all over town, but to be able to control our own destiny- to play on our campus where we can build community is a huge deal,” Wade said.
Students like Allen could be the most excited for the ballpark, “It’s crazy because for a long time they’ve been talking about it, and I never though that the day would come… Or that I would get to play on it. I thought it would happen later on in the season.”
The Hudson Wade Memorial Baseball Field at Abilene Christian Schools is scheduled to be ready for the first pitch in what would have been Hudson’s senior year, in the spring of 2023.
“We’re going to play for him, were going to play our heart out,” Allen added. “And if he was here on the field, he’d be right there beside us.”