The piece was so moving to Mark Kingston, the South Carolina baseball coach brought the whole family in to watch it – five times.
The Kingston era in Columbia will begin at 4 p.m. Friday when the Gamecocks host VMI at Founders Park. Part of Kingston’s first game week included a Wednesday visit from Chris Singleton.
Singleton’s mother, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, was one of the nine victims in the tragic Charleston church shooting on June 17, 2015. A day later, Singleton, then an outfielder for Charleston Southern, delivered a touching "love is stronger than hate” speech on CSU’s diamond.
Singleton’s story has been featured on a variety of national outlets, including ESPN’s E:60 program.
Never miss a local story.
“The other night, ironically enough, I was watching ESPN and the E:60 story came on,” Kingston said Thursday. “I watched it and teared up watching the story, brought my wife into the room so she could watch it and then we agreed that our kids needed to watch it. So we watched it four or five times the other night.
“His story’s amazing.”
Stuart Lake, one Kingston’s assistants at USC, coached Singleton at Charleston Southern. The connection led to this week’s visit.
“To get to meet this individual the other day was a true honor for me, one of my highlights,” Kingston said. “And the message to our team was ‘There are times you’ll be tested whether it’s on the baseball field, whether it’s off the baseball field. You will be tested. So that mental toughness that you have to have to get through the tough times can only come from within.’
“So I think that message was tremendous for our team to honor and I just think it was an honor for our team to meet this individual because he’s going to be very successful in life and he’s going to touch a lot of people in a very positive way.”
USC senior shortstop Madison Stokes said visiting with Singleton was a “very neat experience.”
“He’s a a great man,” Stokes said. “He’s been though a lot obviously and just to see his strength -- internal strength, mental strength -- the way he’s come out of that really taught us a lot.
“You can kind of relate back to baseball and correlate those two. We took a lot from it, just from a mental aspect and internal strength aspect.”