As he rounded second base, Montoursville 10-11 all-star C.J. Signor did not look like the typical player who had just smashed a home run.
Signor did not act like the typical player either.
Instead of being thrilled and smiling, Signor looked sad and concerned. Seconds after Signor belted that home run two weeks ago at Montoursville, the ball struck soon-to-be Montoursville third grader Rachael Shearer. This was not a towering home run either, it was a line drive that left the field like a shot out of a cannon. Any person in its path was going to pay a price.
Rachael Shearer poses with C.J. Signor and his home run ball that hit her during a game.
Shearer was swinging on the swing set beyond the center field fence when the ball drilled her right wrist. As soon as Signor saw that, his emotions went from delight to horror. As he rounded second he already was asking coach Lee Ranck if Shearer was all right. After coming home, Signor raced out to center field and checked on Shearer who was crying and in obvious pain.
When others might have celebrated, Signor sprang into action.
"I was scared that maybe I broke her arm or something," Signor said. "They thought it was going to hit her in the head because it was coming right at her. It was sore and it was all red and black and blue."
That image stuck with Signor. As much as he wants to excel on the field, Signor was more concerned about what was going on off it. At that moment, the game was insignificant. He only wanted to help the sister of teammate Hunter Shearer. An inning later Signor continued doing what he could to comfort Shearer. He grabbed the home run ball, wrote an apology on it, signed it and delivered it to Shearer.
The ball now resides in Shearer's room where she proudly displays it. It serves as a symbol of Signor's maturity and character and all that makes sports great.
"It made me feel better to see her happy," Signor said.
"It just made me feel better," Shearer said. "Usually you don't see other players do that, sign a ball and write something on it."
Shearer's quick reaction helped her as well. She had her back to the field when Signor hit the home run and did not see the ball coming. She only heard her friends yelling, "heads up!" She quickly covered her head so the ball struck her wrist and not her head or face.
"I didn't want to get hit in the head," Shearer said. "I could have gotten a concussion or something else."
Whatever would have happened, Signor would be there to help. Sports reveal so much about character and integrity. Still at the beginning of his athletic journey, Signor has those qualities shining through. Some professionals could learn from the way he conducted himself. When others might have basked in the glory of hitting a home run to help his team win, Signor cared only about someone else.
In a day and age where there are so many negatives being written or spoke about on the youth level, Signor's act of kindness was refreshing. At such a young age, Signor already is acting like a role model.
Last night, Shearer was at Volunteer Stadium, ready to cheer on Signor, her brother and the Montoursville all-stars as they played in the District 12 championship against Keystone. Impending rain, however, forced the game to be postponed till 11 this morning. Shearer and Signor will be there again, joined together in a unique way now and always.
Shearer is completely healed and her wrist showed no damage last night. That makes Signor as happy as helping his team go undefeated thus far while playing well at third base and hitting well. He wants to play well and he wants to win.
More important, Signor wants to do what is good and right.
"That was really nice," Shearer said. "I was pulling for them no matter what and everybody is doing well."
And Signor is helping lead the way on and off the field.