A man of big heart


Hugh McMillan, KP News

John Parker gives equal encouragement to his teams, opponents

Among us is an adult who pours his heart, time, and booty into kids. He’s the sponsor of not one but two little league baseball teams and he’s been sponsoring them for 11 years. His generosity and involvement with these kids peppers comments from his kids and coaches, members of other Little League teams and coaches, even from his wife.

Who is this guy?

He’s the sponsor of two Little League teams called Freight Taxi. He’s unassuming. He doesn’t toot his own horn. He’s just there dispensing what all kids need, love and leadership ..... and pizza and soft drinks after every game. Not just for his team players but for their opponents as well.

“There’s no way that I could let the other team’s kids watch our kids eating without inviting them to join us,” he said. That pretty well sums up the heart of John Parker, a man of the kids. More times than memory serves, when asked on the field during a game, “John, what’s the score?” his answer is, “I don’t know.” And when he asks his coaches or managers, nine times out of 10 they don’t know either. “We’re here to play baseball. For the kids to have fun. That’s what it’s all about,” he says. But they do like to win. All of them. And one Tuesday in June, they did. Big!

Matthew Medveckus, manager of Freight Taxi’s major league team, said: “This was by far the best little league baseball game I’ve ever seen as a coach and a fan. My hat goes off to the kids of Freight Taxi and my coaches. This is a  storybook finish to my coaching career. There is no better way to hang it up ...until I have my own kids.”

At a previous playoff game, Medveckus said, “Without John Parker, none of this would have happened. He just brings out the best in all of us, kids, coaches, you name it.”

John’s wife, Tanja, said he started Freight Taxi in 1996 with his brother-inlaw and one delivery truck. “Growing up with nine brothers, he was very competitive athletically. While his brothers’ sport of choice was basketball, they also played football, and competed in track and wrestling,” she said. He also has four sisters.

“John has a passion for kids and community,” Tanja said. What a masterful bit of understatement. Having three daughters who are interested in hip-hop and swimming, and no sons to play a game of hoops with, Parker wanted to get involved again with sports as much as he could.

”When we first moved out to Lakebay 11 years ago, we would pass by Volunteer Park and notice the baseball games being played,” Tanja said, “We had some friends whose sons were involved in Little League. The rest is history.”

Let’s all hope that is not the case. Thanks for caring, John Parker. It’s people like you who make it all worthwhile.