BY Stephen A. Smiff
FREEHOLD, NJ — Calling it a dream come true, 15-year-old Jessie Holdermann overcame his crippling sunflower seed allergy to make the Freehold Township Travel Summer League B Team.
Holdermann had not played team baseball since 2004, when his allergy was first discovered.
“We first realized he was allergic when he nearly passed out in left field,” said his mother, Annie. “We thought he fell down after chasing around a butterfly, but it turned out he was eating sunflower seeds while playing. Who knew you were allowed to eat a snack mid-game?”
Since, Holdermann had only practiced with his father in backyards and batting cages, fearing any accidental contact with any combination of salted, unsalted or ranch flavored sunflower seeds.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment my entire life,” a semi-intelligible Holdermann is assumed to have said in the dugout, as the dusting of sunflower seed shells coating the floor caused his cheeks and tongue to swell. “Making the Travel Summer League B Team is a big accomplishment. We get to showcase our skills in towns like Colts Neck and Wall, and I get to do it with a great group of guys around me, who still enjoy eating sunflower seeds all game.”
The season begins on June 15, but practices have already begun, giving the rest of the team a chance to get comfortable with Holdermann’s allergy.
“In no other sport are you eating something all game,” continued Holdermann. “I don’t really understand why we do it in baseball, but it’s part of the game. Baseball has a rich history, so who am I to interfere with it. If all it takes for me to play the game I love is to suffer in pain and struggle to breathe, than that’s fine with me.”
David Sunflower Seeds has yet to comment on the situation, but as of now the company is still supplying its product.