MIKE NIETO: Someone will be watching the Falk brothers

2014-06-05T20:00:00Z 2014-06-06T00:07:57Z MIKE NIETO: Someone will be watching the Falk brothersMike Nieto Prep Beat nwitimes.com
June 05, 2014 8:00 pm  • 

Evan Falk has "DP" engraved on the heel of his mitt.

And all of the Illinois Lutheran baseball players have "DP" sewn onto the left side of their caps in honor of Doug Falk, the late father of Charger players Evan and Chris Falk.

How Evan and Chris wish Doug could be there in person today at Dozer Park in Peoria for today's Class 1A semifinal with Argenta-Oreana. Maybe a word of encouragement, or "Go get 'em Chargers" or just telling his two sons that he loves them and go out and give it their best.

Doug Falk died on Feb. 9, 2012 after a long bout with kidney cancer. He was just 53.

Evan and Chris talk about how their dad battled it and how it metastasized and spread through his body, but he fought.

These two young men stood up and kind of got an extra burst of strength when talking about their dad. You could see how proud they were and the love for their dad.

"He'll be there watching us from heaven," said Chris, a senior. "My dad would be so proud of us, the team and what we accomplished."

Added Evan, a sophomore: "He is with us. Maybe not physically, but we know our dad will be there with us and the team."

Chris and Evan put their fingers over his emblem during the national anthem.

Doug left behind wife Michelle, a daughter, Brooke, and his two sons.

Chargers coach Mark Kjenstad said Doug loved the game and loved working with kids, not just his own.

"Huge baseball guy and that is why Chris and Evan are good ballplayers," Kjenstad said. "The one thing I remember most about Doug though is how great of a father he was. He loved baseball, but he loved and lived for his family."

Kjenstad has been there and Evan and Chris look at him as more than a coach.

"He is like a big brother to us," Chris said. "You know, it was really rough when we lost our dad, but Coach Kjenstad was there for us, the whole (Illinois Lutheran) community."

Their dad was at all of their games, practices and I am sure a few back-yard hitting sessions, as well as playing catch. They will never forget those memories.

It's down to two wins and bringing home a state title.

There was another point Kjenstad wanted to make about Doug Falk.

"He would be awful proud of his sons," Kjenstad said. "They are fine young men off the field as well."

These two young men had to grow up a little faster than a lot of teenage boys.

This column is solely the writer's opinion. Reach him at mike.nieto@nwi.com.

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