Nick Keen works the night shift Sunday to Thursday, 8 pm to 4:30 am. His schedule is busy. Between his career and spending time with his wife and two daughters, the balancing act is a tough regiment.
By the time Nick gets home from work in the wee hours of the morning, sleep is the last thing on his mind.
Growing up, Nick stayed active any way he could. While living in Florida, he played on a local little league team, but mostly made due with what he and his friends had. This often took the form of an empty parking lot. It was on the blacktop where Keen first fell in love with the sport.
Keen moved to Virginia when he was 12 and has lived all over the state from New Market, to Broadway, to Timberville and finally Harrisonburg, where he has lived for the past six years.
Nick heard of HLLA after his daughter brought home a flyer from school. Knowing she was already involved with gymnastics, Keen instead turned toward his nephew, Brantley, with an offer that was too sweet to pass up.
“I told him I would take him to all of the practices, games and things so he would do it.”
Brantley Griffith is six years old and will play his first season with HLLA on a Sandlot Tee-ball team.
“This is his first sport. He’s only had two practices, and he loves it.”
With a digital age, many parents are concerned that games, such as Fortnite, keep kids indoors. But Keen finds that this is not the case for his daughters or his nephew.
“They love being outside playing, so it’s no issue with them wanting to be active. He [Brantley] likes going out and doing things. I’ll take him fishing with me.”
The routine has quickly become an opportunity for the whole family to come together.
“My wife will stay home with the kids, or she’ll bring them out there with us,” said Nick. “His mom and grandma will sit along there with me at the practices. And I’ll give a hand to the coach where he needs it.”
For Nick, he puts in the time because of what he got out of the sport when he was younger.
“I mean it’s busy, but it’s worth it. It’s something for the kids and seeing him have fun — really, that’s worth it.”
HLLA Story is an official blog site of the Harrisonburg Little League Association. All content is managed by Bluestone Communications, a student-run public relations agency at James Madison University. Please contact Isaac Woo (email@example.com), faculty director of Bluestone Communications, if you have any questions about the blog or the stories.