Oklahoman reveals softball team ‘Playing for Xander’
LEXINGTON—Xander Moore was an inspiration to the Lexington community, as well as other areas in Oklahoma. The 11-year-old died Aug. 22, after a nine-year battle with cancer, but as the Oklahoman has demonstrated, Moore’s legacy will remain.
The state’s largest circulated publication featured in its Sept. 18 issue the cover story “Playing for Xander.” Written by Jacob Unruh, the article told about the Lexington High School softball team honoring Moore by wearing purple ribbons and shirts which displayed the message “Lexington Softball Plays for Xander Moore.”
As the story states, “Purple was his favorite color, and it now serves as a reminder to the players of his strength and inspiration to the small community that rallied around Moore and his family throughout the lengthy battle.”
Moore’s parents are Doug and Ricki Lea Moore. Doug is the youth minister at Lexington, First. “It took a long time to read the article, the tears literally streamed down my face,” he said. “The fact that Xander is in Heaven now, and he is still having an impact in the lives of others here on Earth is more than any parent could ask for.”
The article shares how Lexington Softball Coach Hillary Price had plans already drawn up before Moore’s death for the team to dedicate its season in his honor. However, the wording on the shirts was changed from “Lexington Fights for Xander Moore” when the shirts were ordered three days following his death.
“He had put in a long, hard fight, so we thought one season is nothing compared to nine years. We take purple wherever we go,” Price said in the article. Unruh wrote that “Price remembers Moore in her PE classes as the kid you never knew was sick.”
“We know that in Xander’s 11 years and 9 months, he touched the heart of Coach Price and the members of the softball team,” Doug said. “Anyone who knew Xander knew that he LOVED sports. He loved supporting Lexington football, basketball, softball, baseball… you name it.”
Doug shared teams of other communities also were inspired by Xander. He said the Deer Creek softball team and Mustang South Middle School 8th grade football and girls’ softball teams are honoring Xander this fall.
“There is comfort in knowing that a little piece of Xander will carry on in the heart of our community,” he said. “The journey we traveled with Xander was not traveled alone. We were always supported by our community, not just our church community, but even by people who barely knew us. They loved Xander, and I pray that our community will be forever changed by Xander’s faith.”
Doug and Ricki Lea asked for Messenger readers to continue to pray for their family through this time of grief. Xander’s family also includes grandparents Rick and Elaine Brown. Rick is the building manager of the Baptist Building in Oklahoma City.
“Right now, our family is missing Xander terribly,” Doug and Ricki Lea shared. “Each day holds painful reminders that he is gone. We know Xander’s life was not in vain, and did serve a purpose that is far greater than we can comprehend right now. Pray that God will use our painful circumstances to minister to others.”
As reflected by the tributes of the sports teams, the influence of Xander and his family is having an impact on many lives. Let’s pray even more lives are impacted because of this family and their desire to serve the Lord, this side of Heaven.