With summer days running short before schools ring their first tardy bells of the new academic year, people of all ages flock towards the water to beat the high temperatures.
After a lengthy three-hour-plus walk-off victory for David Murphy and the American League West-leading Rangers on Tuesday night, school kids aren't the only ones who want a refresher from the heat.
Before heading to the ballpark to prepare for Wednesday's series finale against the New York Yankees, Rangers bench coach Jackie Moore and his wife, JoAnne, spent time at Hawaiian Falls, a water park in Mansfield, with families from Snowball Express. Since starting in 2006, the organization has focused on providing hope and new memories for the children of military personnel killed in action.
The Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation broadens their horizons to additional organizations as often as possible, and Jackie Moore suggested the foundation look into Snowball Express, who hosts Snowflake events around the country throughout the year.
"For this year's Snowflake event in partnership with Hawaiian Falls, we decided to bring out families that were mostly from Fort Hood and have a fun day at the water park. Then at the end of the month, we'll have a fun day at Rangers Ballpark," said Karin Morris, the executive director of the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation. "It's our way to give back to the families that have lost loved ones in the military. Considering the Rangers and the foundation's close ties to the military, it just made sense."
Moore, who is in his fourth stint with the Rangers and currently his second season as bench coach, isn't a stranger to the Texas heat. However, he always enjoys cooling down by the water.
"It gives us an opportunity today to reach families coming in and let them have a special day here to get some swimming in and also just a full day of enjoyment. I know JoAnne, my wife, and I got very involved in this last year and really felt good about the situation and wanted to be part of it," Moore said. "Just to see them have a chance to smile and understand each other's problems again, we are very proud to be a part of it."
As the 12 families totaling 65 people sporadically entered the park's gate in the late morning, Jackie and JoAnne were there to greet them and visit. The Moores remembered the Weatherfords, the first family to arrive, from last year's event.
Amy Weatherford and her three boys have been members of Snowball Express for the past three years.
"We've lived in Texas now for two years and [my sons have] become huge Rangers fans. It's fun to have [Jackie] out here supporting the military and for my boys to meet him. They remembered him from last year. It is another great year to meet with them and talk to him again this year," she said.
After a group lunch and visiting session, the kids and parents joined together to beat the heat, ride the slides, and float on inner tubes in the wave pool.
The Weatherfords look forward to being a part of the organization for many years to come. So do the Moores, Jackie indicated.
"It's just some way we can show our appreciation and just let them know how special they are and how much we appreciate what they are going through and the love for them that we can return. So we hope this continues for a lot of years, and JoAnne and I would like to be a part of it."
Alan H. Rose is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.