“Do boys play basketball too?” That’s the question 3 year old Brett asked his player/coach mom Heather one day. He was right at home sitting on gym floors, playing with his Thomas trains, while she coached high school girls ball. He watched his big sister (JDP senior Mackenzie) play up against older kids all the time. He was surrounded by a love of basketball all his life, but of the female variety, so Heather took him to watch the McDaniel’s men’s basketball team. Shortly after, she began to coach him in his own basketball team as well. She would coach him, in a head or assistant role from 4 years old to 8th grade.
To know JDP senior Brett DeWees is to love him. We had a blast with this kid! He knew all about his sister’s portraits and although almost no guy is excited to come for portraits, they always end up loving what we create. Brett had no idea he’d be getting soaked during his senior portraits (cue first portrait in the blog), but we knew how important the water theme was to his sister Mackenzie’s senior portraits, so we introduced him to our waterfall in studio! He rolled with it like a champ! This kid is the greatest combination of all his mom and dad’s wonderful traits.
He is the spitting image of his dad, (which he hears about 10x a day because of his dad’s very public role as sheriff). His love for basketball and baseball runs deep and comes from his parents as well. Both mom and dad played baseball in high school. Jim was a varsity pitcher at South Carroll High and Heather played 1st and 2nd base. Heather only left the sport when she became a D1 basketball recruit. She could have played on her high school boys baseball team!
Brett also pitched for a while, but realized at 8 he loved the role of catcher. Jim’s role as a pitcher has been incredibly influential in helping to shape Brett as a stand out catcher. He has helped his son with the valuable skills of learning how to assess the game and when to approach his pitcher. The role of a catcher is often misunderstood and overlooked. However, anyone who knows the game knows that a catcher leads the team, he settles the team, he sets a tone, he surveys the scene and he constantly evaluates. He knows the count and it affects how he works a batter. He knows how to work the batter and keep him guessing. He knows when to make a smart throw and when to hold. He knows the score, the number of outs, the line up and how to direct the defense from his unique vantage point.
A great catcher makes his pitcher better, he knows the glamour is on the mound but is fine with keeping the spotlight off himself. There’s a selflessness to this role that just very naturally is Brett DeWees. He knows his job is to make the pitcher look good, to remind the pitcher when he’s getting skittish that he’s up to the challenge and to call out the best in him.
A catcher is the only one in gear so he feels doubly responsible to sacrifice his body by throwing it at the ball to make sure it never makes it past him. He knows he can never let a ball or a wild runner on third by him. Catchers are prepared to take foul balls off their mask, collide with runners, be hit with a mask on a back swing or a batter throwing their bat on the way to first. They know it comes with the territory. This skill set is what Brett seeks to grow in excellence every time he steps onto the field. His role as a stand out catcher had made him an invaluable asset to Manchester Valley’s Mavericks and the Southwest PA Outlaws in Hanover.
Brett loves the intensity of baseball and how it co-mingles with the relaxing nature of the sport. He gets incredible satisfaction from picking off a first base guy he catches asleep. His pitchers know and love him for his ability to help calm their nerves. The one game he missed it was noticed and his pitcher was like race horse missing his trainer. Brett’s natural instinct for the game becomes an expectation and when he’s not there, something’s just not right.
Brett has been 2nd team All-County for Varsity Baseball. He takes his academics just as seriously with a weighted 3.9 GPA and as a member of NHS. Somehow he’s found time to accumulate almost 500 service hours in the community as well!
Brett’s approach to basketball is very much like his approach to baseball. He brings a calm head, hard work ethic and desire to win and leave it all on the court. Last year he had a career high (8) three pointers against Owings Mills! Brett was a skilled soccer goalie and striker in youth soccer which led him into the role as a freshman kicker for JV football team at Man Val until he sustained a hip injury. This injury kept him out of baseball his freshman year; however, he went on to play varsity baseball and basketball his sophomore and junior years. Brett also spent 2 months of this past summer recuperating and rehabbing from an evulsion fracture of his hip. Who would have ever known this strapping young athlete was projected to never be able to even play sports given the autoimmune illness, Common Immune Variable Deficiency, he was diagnosed with at 2 years old.
Brett requires infusions of antibodies because his body does not make them. This makes him unable to defend against bacteria and viruses. This has meant missing school every 3 weeks, for the last 14 years, to travel to Hopkins for infusions. It’s meant overcoming the nausea, headaches and fatigue that accompany the disorder and still maintain academic excellence to qualify for National Honor Society and keep up with demanding practice/game schedules. Most kids who have this are never expected to play sports, much less grow up playing three different sports, then play at a highschool level. Most of Brett’s team mates through the years have been unaware he has this because it’s no something he brings up. Even more incredible is that Brett will be playing baseball at York College next year!
To only see his athletic prowess when you look at Brett, would be missing a giant part of who this kid is. His sense of humor kept us laughing through his whole session. He never fails to find the humor in any given situation, which will serve him well through this life. Heather fell in love with this Risky Business ode below…although Brett had no idea what the reference was! Brett we wish you all the best at York College as you pursue Mechanical Engineering! Thanks for being one of the good guys out there-you make our world a better place!