Local Greenwood youth catches first pitch thrown by Maverick Derek Pallardy at Royals game

Posted by GSDispatch Editor in by Community Residents, Sports

Local Greenwood youth Jake Means recently had the honor of catching the first pitch at the Royals game. Jake Means is a Lee’s Summit West High School Sophomore who had a season-ending injury this year when he took an illegal hit from behind. Jake is in month 6 of a 8 month recovery.

Jake is a forward for the Jr. Mavericks High School Hockey league. Derek Pallardy, a Missouri Maverick Professional Hockey Player, threw the first pitch. Derek is a player who has supported Jake and continues to work with Jake in his recovery.

The Missouri Maverick Derek Pallardy and head Coach Scott Hillman have both been instrumental in Jake’s recovery and his attitude. The Mavericks are an incredible sports team to have moved to the area and they are very involved in the youth in the hockey programs.

Mother of Jake, Erin Means had this to say about Pallardy, “Derek, especially, has guided, supported and encouraged my son on his recovery and Jake has worked hard to recover and return to the the High School hockey team of the Jr. Mavericks.  Jake still has two months left in his return and has spent the last 6 months recovering, but always with a positive attitude.”

Jake says ” Derek is a friend and mentor who never lets me quit. He is there to let me get angry at set backs but he always says “If I’m not getting better then I’m getting worse, and that’s not an option.”  To have thrown out the first pitch with Derek at the Royals was a real honor, mainly as no one else would have been as meaningful. Derek is a great guy, player and person.   I also thank Scott Hillman the coach of the Mavericks because he gave me opportunities I never would have had. Scott always keep me in check with my outlook, and when days are rough or frustrating he points to the quote the Mavericks have: ” Motivation is simple…remove those who are not motivated.” That reminds me that even when I fall short of a therapy goal, I need to be motivated to win the battle. I can’t wait to be back on the ice. It has been 6 months and I have until September before I can return to my sport. I love hockey, the Jr. Mavericks and the Pro Mavericks have been nothing but great. I am a lucky kid to have the parents and brother I do, the friends and mentors like Derek and Scott and to have my teammates behind me. I say look out Hockey teams in the league, because I will be back on the ice, and I will be a stronger player because I faced adversity and won!”

Jake is son of Erin and Frank Means of Greenwood; Derek Pallardy is a native of St. Louis and moved here to play for our Missouri Mavericks. Both these players exmplify what character, determination and friendship is all about.

tagged: , , , , , , , , ,