As Memorial Day arrives and Fourth of July nears, let this be a reminder to everyone: Playing with fireworks isn't as bright an idea as the pyrotechnics they produce.
An accident involving a Roman candle last July 4 cost Homewood-Flossmoor (Ill.) High junior right-handed pitcher Jameson Lamb the use of his right eye, as detailed in a tremendous feature by Chicago Sun-Times columnist Pat Disaboto.
After H-F coach Todd Sippel specifically warned his players "not to be stupid" following a summer league game on July 3, 2012, the next day Lamb and his friends gathered near his family's cottage in Michigan to set off some fireworks, the Sun-Times detailed.
Just teenagers being teenagers, right? Well, here's the problem: The kids decided to hold the Roman candles in their hands, and when one of them thought the series of bursts had finished, he lowered the tube and fired one last shot into Lamb's eye.
"He turned around and I was like, ‘Oh, my God,’" Lamb's father Sean described to the Sun-Times. "There was a black hole in his one eye. It was like the ‘Terminator’ movie.”
In the aftermath of a handful of surgeries and dozens of doctors visits, however, Lamb's attitude has been inspiring. According to the feature, he doesn't blame his friend, swore off fireworks and accepted the challenge of playing baseball with full use of only one eye.
Within a fortnight of the injury, Lamb began playing catch with his father, said Disaboto. Almost a year later, he's 1-1 with one save, a 3.20 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 19.2 innings, leading the Vikings to a berth in the Class 4A regional semifinals this weekend.
Thankfully, a series of medical procedures could return Lamb's vision and appearance to normal, the Sun-Times said. But remember: While baseball and fireworks-fueled summer holidays may be as American as apple pie, it's best to approach both the right way.
And as long as we're on the subject, let's not forget Memorial Day is about honoring those who died in service to the United States Armed Forces. Thank a serviceman or woman if you get the chance. They deserve it.