Sports are often seen as life or death for those who play. But on Saturday, April 28, club baseball remembered that there is so much more to life than sports.
On October 28, 2017, Georgia and Michael Wiley got the call that every parent fears: their son, Breslin, had died.
After a police investigation it was determined that Breslin had committed suicide at his off-campus residence.
Breslin, a junior engineering major, had been a staple on Elon University’s club baseball team.
As his father explained, Breslin was offered the opportunity to play Division II baseball somewhere else. But, when he got into Elon, the college of his dreams, the offer meant very little.
“As soon as he came back home the first time after playing baseball here he was telling us about the club team and how he loved these guys and how they had such a big impact on his life,” Michael said.
Breslin left his mark immediately on the team. The catcher got involved early and showed the team just how well he could play.
“He felt very welcome, he was actually Rookie of the Year his freshman year,” Georgia said. “He had a good time with these guys and he considered them family.”
That feeling of being a family was mutual between him and the rest of the team. The team has done all that it can to honor its fallen brother.
“When we came down that weekend they all came to the gathering and shared a lot of fun memories, they made us laugh,” Georgia said. “It warmed our hearts to see the positive impact he had on so many lives.”
Many of his teammates and his friends still wear a maroon and gold reminder of Breslin around their wrists.
“They chartered a bus and they came up for the funeral, which meant a lot to us. They have written us letters, they raised money with their awesome bracelets that we donated [the proceeds] to a suicide prevention organization,” Georgia said.
Before the team’s game against the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on April 28, the team went even further to make sure that Breslin always stays with the hearts and minds of the club and the university.
With his parents in attendance, the team presented them with the jersey he wore, signed by the entire team. The white number one with gold lettering will never be worn again, in remembrance of Breslin.
Breslin’s dad met this weekend with mixed emotions, since Saturday marked the six-month anniversary of that fateful day.
“We knew coming back here was going to be tough, but at the same time we were really looking forward to the events and to seeing his friends again,” Michael said. “It’s been a good day. It’s going to be something we will remember forever and we will hold these memories close to our heart.”
Along with the jersey, the parents also received a drawing of Breslin that the team decided was their favorite picture of him. The picture will be framed and hung in the club’s off campus homes for the foreseeable future.
The team made the occasion even sweeter by pulling off a come-from-behind victory, 7-4.
Earlier in the day on Saturday, Elon University planted a weeping cherry tree in his honor next to Lake Verona. His parents recognized the symbolism of the placement of the tree.
“Knowing that his memory is here, right at his favorite little fishing hole right over there, it means a lot," Georgia said.
“He never caught anything," Michael added, laughing. "But he would love to just cast it out there.”
Though Breslin is no longer with them, his memory will live on through the players, the organization and the shade cast over Lake Verona.