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When words fail, baseball speaks

McNeese infielder Reid Bourque uses the game of baseball to help deal with his speech block
Published: May. 25, 2022 at 11:01 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - The language of baseball has broken many barriers.

For McNeese senior shortstop Reid Bourque, it’s where he can express himself without hesitation.

Something he’s not able to do verbally.

Bourque has a speech block, a type of stutter that makes daily situations like ordering at a restaurant become more than just a trivial task.

“Every year on the first day of class, I wouldn’t go because I knew I would have to stand up and introduce myself to everyone,” said Bourque in a text exchange with KPLC.

But on the diamond– it’s a different story for the Moss Bluff native.

“As much as he may struggle with that, we all hear him loud and clear with whatever he is trying to communicate,” said McNeese outfielder Julian Gonzales.

Using the platform baseball gives him, Bourque shared his daily battles. In February, he detailed his speech block on social media hoping to inspire others.

“I think it kind of lifted a burden off of him just putting it out there,” said McNeese coach Justin Hill. “It took a lot of guts to do. I also think it’s been a ray of hope.”

“It 100% has helped me. The post allowed me to release that burden and feeling of embarrassment,” said Bourque. “This is just how God made me.”

The post has over 320-thousand impressions, one of those in Fort Worth, Texas. 11-year-old Colton Drinkard is a baseball player, who also has a stutter.

“The idea that there was another baseball player that went through and is going through the same thing, was really empowering and cool for him,” said Colton’s mother Haley Drinkard.

The Drinkards not only saw the post and thanked Bourque— they planned a trip.

“For it to reach a kid in Fort Worth that reached out to him and came down and visit with him,” said Bourque’s father Trent Bourque, “I think that was something that Reid never anticipated.”

Colton played catch with Bourque and watched batting practice during the Cowboys’ series with UIW.

“He is a hero to Colton.” Troy Drinkard, Colton’s father, said of Reid, “When you watch Reid on the field, he’s amazing. It’s what he was there to do. I think it’s great for Colton to understand that it’s not about how fast you talk, it’s about who you are as a person and what you do with what you’ve been given in life to do.”

Through baseball, the pair share a special bond.

“When words fail, baseball speaks,” said Haley of Colton’s story he wrote to the stuttering foundation magazine. “That’s kind of been his motto.”

A record-setting career is nearing its end

Bourque has proven Colton’s motto true this season. He landed All-Southland accolades and was named to the league’s all-defensive team. Those honors came just a few days after Bourque set the McNeese record for most games played.

“It’s his last hurrah if you will and it’s great to see all of the things over the last month that has happened for him personally,” said Trent Bourque. “More importantly, I think he would say it as well, that for his team to win the conference championship outright and be fighting for the 3rd straight NCAA appearance is even more special.”

McNeese opens the Southland Champion series against Southeastern on Thursday.

After more than 230 starts in a McNeese uniform, Bourque said in a statement that he is set to embrace this weekend, which may be his final one as a college athlete.

“This will be the last weekend I get to play on this field,” said Bourque in a statement to KPLC, “but I’m trying my best to not think about that and soak in every moment big or small.”

Copyright 2022 KPLC. All rights reserved.

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