Overcoming The Odds: An Interview With Baseball Coach Logan Barer
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Overcoming The Odds: An Interview With Baseball Coach Logan Barer

Barer was diagnosed with cancer at age 9...but after treatment went on to play college baseball and is now coaching at Ramah Sports Academy.

Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer directs Jewish Learning Venture’s Whole Community Inclusion which fosters inclusion of people with disabilities through the Philadelphia Jewish community. She loves writing/editing for “The New Normal” and for WHYY’s newsworks. Her latest book The Little Gate Crasher is a memoir of her Great-Uncle Mace Bugen, a self-made millionaire and celebrity selfie-artist who was 43 inches tall and was chosen for this year’s Jewish Disability Awareness & Inclusion Month Book Selections. She’s recently shared an ELI Talk on Standing With Families Raising Kids With Disabilities and has released a journal designed for special needs parents.

Logan Barer at Ithaca. Courtesy of Logan Barer
Logan Barer at Ithaca. Courtesy of Logan Barer

At age 9, Logan Barer was diagnosed with diagnosed with Stage III melanoma and went on to undergo multiple surgeries. During the years of his recovery, Barer had to sit out from playing his favorite sport–baseball. Fortunately, by high school he was able to return to the game and was then recruited to play for Ithaca College. Barer graduated in May 2017 and is now coaching at Ramah Sports Academy in Fairfield, CT. New Normal Editor Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer interviewed him about baseball, camp and the Tikvah Ramah experience for his brother who has special needs.

GKM: Congratulations on graduating from college! What are your plans for life after school?

LB: I graduated from Ithaca College in May of 2017. Right now, I’m basically going with the flow, seeing where life takes me. I’m still young and trying to figure out exactly what I’d like to be doing, but for now I’m enjoying my role at Bobby Valentine’s Sports Academy and Ramah Sports Academy.

GKM: Can you describe what baseball means to you?

LB: No, I honestly can’t describe what baseball means to me. I’ve tried and fail every time. It means more than everything to me.

GKM: What does it mean to be able to play again after going through cancer treatment?

LB: It was a great feeling to finally get to play again after my treatment. While I was going through it, I was the acting first base coach for my team so I was still involved, but it pales in comparison to actually getting on the mound and pitching.

GKM: You have a brother who is in the Ramah Tikvah program for campers with special needs. What does camp mean for your brother? How has that program impacted his life?

LB: Eli has been going to Ramah for a very very long time and it means the world to him, as well as the rest of the family. When he’s home, we can’t come close to giving him the 24/7 attention Ramah offers. Sam Landes and the rest of his counselors are like a family away from home for him, so he gets to go and have an amazing time with people that truly care about him. When we drop him off, visit him, and pick him up, he has an enormous smile on his face. I’ve loved Ramah for quite a long time because of how they’ve treated my brother, so it’s an honor to work for them now.

GKM: What do you hope to impart to your campers this summer?

LB: Respect the game of baseball. Respect your opponents, your teammates, the field, and all the thousands of ballplayers that preceded you. Run on the field, don’t walk. Cheer for your teammates, not against your opponents. There is a lot of blood, sweat, and tears that have soaked into the dirt on the field, so you must respect baseball and put in the same strong effort that the game deserves. If you’re good to the game of baseball, baseball will be good to you.

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