Four months after Elon University was left in shock following the suicide of junior Breslin Wiley, the team is practicing with a different mentality than in years before.
Many of those closest to Wiley were his friends and fellow teammates on the club baseball team who were left to console one another. They’re approaching each day with a new appreciation for life and love for one another that they will never take for granted.
Senior Kyle Block lives in the club baseball house where Wiley was living with other teammates. He says they’ve decided to focus more on the good times they had with their friend instead of grieving his loss.
“We just talked about all the good times we had with Breslin and how those good times should be remembered and we shouldn’t just be sitting here thinking about the sad times,” he said.
A renewed sense of brotherhood has been established within the group and it’s something that has caused every player on the team to have more incentive to support one another at all times.
Senior Zachary Monick says that since Wiley’s death, the team has become more motivated to attend practices and giving all their effort, knowing that their former teammate would do the same.
“This isn’t practice, we’re just having fun,” Monick said. “We’re all hanging out, this is how we get close. Definitely without him, we’re much more drawn to come out and be a part of it.”
In memory of Wiley, the club baseball team is planning to retire his jersey in an upcoming game. When he was on the field, Wiley would typically wear the number one while playing behind home plate as the catcher.
“We feel like that’s something small we can do that would mean a lot both to him, to his family, and anyone that knew him,” said senior Robbie Nanna.
In the days following Wiley’s death, the team also made wristbands in his memory that states, “Son. Brother. Friend.” in addition to his nickname, “Bres.”
Over 400 wristbands have since been sold, earning $650 with the proceeds going to Wiley’s family.
“It’s just a way that we can keep the memory of him with us all the time and show the support for him and his family,” Nanna said.
Though the team is still recovering having lost one of its close friends and brothers, the bond that has since been developed has healed some of the wounds.
And the love they have for one another is something that will never be taken away.
“It would be wrong of us to not show the love that we have for each other,” Nanna said. “I think the difference between club baseball last year and this year is that we’re all friends still and we really do love each other and when we say that we’re family and we’re brothers, we mean it.”