On the surface it looks like business as usual for the East Rochester baseball team.
Practicing indoors ahead of another season, but unlike the last 20, something is missing.
Equipment manager Dan Marra.
“Its very different because he’s been around for as long as I can remember,” East Rochester senior baseball player Andrew Chilelli said. “Its just not the same without Dan.”
“Just today I go to grab the cart and it wasn’t there cause he would have already had it there,” added ER baseball coach PJ Hermance.
Dan Marra suffered from epilepsy and because of his seizures, he was unable to have a full time job.
What he got instead was a family.
First in the mid 60’s with Rush Henrietta and then the last two decades with East Rochester. He worked with the Bombers’ football, basketball and baseball teams.
“He touched a lot of kids lives in terms of ‘hey, what did you do last night, what did you have for dinner,” said Patrick Walsh, an East Rochester coach in basketball and baseball. “Everybody knew Dan.”
“Daily interaction is what kept him going,” Brian Touranjoe said. He coaches the combined ER/Gananda football team. “”Whether it was with kids or adults, because Dan could talk.”
He would have seizures at practices or games. Every time dusting himself and continuing with his job.
He never complained once.
Dan Marra died March 17th after a battle with liver disease.
“He lived what he wanted to do and he loved what he was doing being a manager and being around this place,” Touranjoe said. “Community is what he lived for.”
“It wasn’t just about the water bottles. It wasn’t just about the equipment. It was about the relationship,” Hermance said. “It was about what he did for everyone else. It was about how he made you feel better.”
There are far too many stories to tell and far too many lives he touched to count.
Even after Marra’s gone, he’s still teaching the bombers how to live.
“Dan learned what we should all learn. Life isn’t about things, it’s about people,” Touranjoe said. “There’s always going to be a little hole in our heart. Its going to fill in, but that little piece will be there.”
“We’re going to do this season for Dan. Everything we do,” Chilelli said. “We’ll work a little bit harder, run a little bit faster, just for Dan because he’s still here.”