A Son's Premonition, And A Final Baseball Game Dr. Gregg and Kathryn Korbon tell the story of the Brian C. Korbon Field in Charlottesville, Va., named in honor of their son. Before his ninth birthday, Brian told his parents he wouldn't make it to his "double digits." He died months later. "That's what he was trying to tell us all that time," Kathryn recalls.

A Son's Premonition, And A Final Baseball Game

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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

Time now for StoryCorps. This project is traveling the country recording interviews. Many people have been telling stories about loved ones, and today we'll hear from a family in Virginia.

Dr. GREGG KORBON: My name is Gregg Korbon and there's a Little League baseball field in Charlottesville called Brian Calvin Korbon Field, and I would like to tell the story of how it got its name.

MONTAGNE: Gregg came to a StoryCorps booth with his wife, Kathryn. They wanted to share the story about that ball field and their son, Brian.

Dr. KORBON: When Brian was getting ready for his ninth birthday, he said that he would never make it to double digits, meaning ten years old. We didn't understand that because he was healthy, but he did not want to celebrate his birthday.

Ms. KATHRYN KORBON: That's when I got worried. I said, okay, we're going to take you in to see somebody. And he was delighted. He loved talking to somebody. It was just fun for him.

Dr. KORBON: Well, over the next several months he said that he wanted to have a belated birthday party. Kathryn came home one day and he was pulling a red wagon down the driveway, and he had his camping gear on there, and his toys and teddy bears. Kathryn said, Brian, what are you doing? And Brian said I'm ready to go on my trip.

Ms. KORBON: And I said, Brian, I'll be so sad if you leave. And he said, mom, I have to go.

Dr. KORBON: And Kathryn said, well, you can't go away because you have your birthday party. And he said, all right. And then the next morning was his party. There were several things he did that we didn't realize until later, but he wrote letters to some of his friends and put a sign on his door. The door said, Brian's on a trip. Don't worry about me.

And then the kids came for the party - he didn't want any gifts - but his little girlfriend gave him a kiss and his boy friend wrote a song for him. And then it was time for Brian to play Little League.

Now, he always was afraid of the ball - he was the littlest kid on the team -but when Brian got there, he was fearless. He was charging after the ground balls and just having the best time. It was his first time up at bat. He got walked to first base; the next little boy hit a triple. And Brian ran around the bases, crossed home plate, and he was the happiest little boy I ever saw.

He gave me a high five and went into the dugout and then he collapsed. The coach brought him out - and I'm an anesthesiologist; that's what I do is resuscitate people - and something inside told me he wasn't coming back.

Ms. KORBON: As soon as we left the hospital, I thought to myself: that's what he was trying to tell us all that time.

Dr. KORBON: Yeah, but it wasn't in my belief system that something like that could happen. After he died, I went to the ball field to get my car and it was the most beautiful spring day I have ever seen. And there was another Little League game playing when I went back, and I was looking at the other kids playing.

And then all of the sudden everything got very clear, and I had the sense that if I could bring Brian back it would be for me, not for him, that he had finished. And the unfinished business was just mine. That's the story of how Brian Korbon Field got its name.

It was a dumpy field when Brian played, and a month or two later they renovated it. Now, when people come and their little kids play Little League and they say, we were playing on this field and it's named Korbon Field; is that any relation? And then I say, yes.

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MONTAGNE: Gregg Korbon with his wife Kathryn at StoryCorps in Charlottesville, Virginia. Their entry will be archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. See pictures of Brian and his parents at NPR.org.

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MONTAGNE: This is NPR News.

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