Little JJ Moisa, 4, immediately gravitated toward the Pleasanton National All-Stars, said his mother Holly, and began to follow them around and call them by their numbers.
"I was so nervous because these were 9- and 10-year-old boys, who I assumed would want nothing to do with a 4-year-old," Holly recalled in an email. "The boys went under the play structure, and of course JJ followed them, announcing, 'I'm JJ Moisa and I'm 4-1/2.'"
Holly said she was about to go get her son when she saw all the boys giving him high fives.
"Then JJ took off his hat, revealing his one-third bald head, which made my anxiety go through the roof because kids can be so mean," she remembered. "The next thing I know, the boys are calling over their teammates, saying, 'Come meet our friend JJ. This kid is a beast with a beast haircut!' They started following JJ around the park playing with him, asking him, 'What number am I?'"
They also were picking him up, rubbing his head, and kept telling him what "a beast" he is.
"I literally sat there crying that these kids would be so sweet to JJ completely on their own," Holly said. "I never went over and explained that JJ had cancer, but I didn't need to. These young men recognized that JJ is incredibly special and they went out of their way to include him."
When the older boys were about to leave, they came looking for JJ to make sure that they said goodbye to him and gave him high-5s.
"JJ told them, 'Bye, friends. Have fun at your A's baseball game,'" Holly recalled, explaining that JJ thinks only the A's play ball.
The Pleasanton National All-Stars followed through on the friendship, inviting the family to a game for the players to spend time with JJ beforehand. They made JJ an honorary team member and presented him with some PNLL gear and A's tickets. They gave balls signed by the team to JJ and his brother, Jackson. And they let JJ throw out a ceremonial first pitch.
"In a time when I worry so much about how JJ will be treated by his peers, this truly helped give me some peace of mind," Holly said. "Go, Pleasanton National All-Stars!"