Published in Macalester Today
FOOTBALL AND TRACK STAR Konnor Fleming ’15 (Charlotte, Vt.) went into last month’s Travis Roy Wiffle Ball Tournament expecting to continue a six-year family tradition and have a fun weekend.
Then, with his team one out away from sealing a 3-0 victory and a fly ball hit deep to centerfield that looked like it was going over the wall, Fleming made a desperate flip-over-the-fence catch.
His teammates mobbed him in celebration, and over the following days media would mob him as well. It turns out that Fleming’s “amazing game-ending catch” was caught on video, which went #2 on SportsCenter, garnered more than 750,000 YouTube views, and became the talk of the country thanks to Huffington Post, USA Today, CNN, and The Today Show.
Held every August in Vermont’s Little Fenway—a miniature replica of the Boston Red Sox’s hallowed grounds—the Travis Roy Wiffle Ball Tournament serves as a fundraiser for the Travis Roy Foundation.That foundation supports spinal cord injury research and patients.
The ongoing success of the event is reflected by an expanding tournament field (over more than 30 teams competed this summer) and a significant increase in the amount of money raised. This year’s tournament raised over $500,000, an event record. Fleming says he considered the attention his catch drew an opportunity to bring further awareness to the cause.
“I’m happy to have had my 15 minutes of fame, I suppose,” he says. “And happy that it hasn’t been just for me but also to benefit the Travis Roy Foundation.”
Assistant football and track coach Marc Davies says he was not shocked by Fleming’s catch and subsequent humility. “I thought it was really cool, but I also was not surprised,” he says. I mean it’s typical Konnor. Nothing gets in his way. Not a wall, nothing.
“He thinks anything is possible. He goes after anything that he sets his mind to. He was one of our top recruits because of his character and personality. He’s a phenomenal leader.”