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Ozarks Life: Kickapoo teacher combines three passions into one project

Loren Broaddus publishes poetry book mixing baseball and history
Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 5:46 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - It seems like an idea out of left field for a history teacher.

Kickapoo High School’s Loren Broaddus is a baseball fan who happens to be a U.S. History teacher and loves to write poetry.

It’s an odd triple play that’s a grand slam for Broaddus.

“It’s timeless,” Broaddus says about baseball. “A world that changes so rapidly and it’s loud. Baseball is a timeless thing.”

His journal saved all of his history-related baseball poems. It’s a throw back to his days at Drury.

“I took a creative writing course as a student with Jo Van Arkel,”Broaddus said. “I tried writing short stories after Jo’s class, but everyone in the stories died. So I went with poetry which is a condensed way to tell a story.”

The poems that Loren hit out-of-the-park are inside a notebook. Broaddus transposed them from whatever scrap piece of paper he had at the time they were written, which for the teacher includes hall passes.

“Never while I’m teaching,” Broaddus said. “I’ve never told kids, ‘hey wait for a second, I got an idea.”

“Van Arkel found out I was still writing. She wanted it all in one place; in a locally published book. It’s called Pencil Box Press. She got a grant to do it.”

“Joe DiMaggio Moves Like Liquid Light” was published with artwork from another one of Van Arkel’s former students, Aarin Song. One look is all it took for Andrews McMeel Publishing to get onboard.

“They do Calvin and Hobbs,” Broaddus said. “They’re a Kansas City publisher. We were shocked.”

One hundred thirty pages of poems mass produced. There’s Charlie Brown and Jackie Robinson. Ty Cobb versus Christy Mathewson and even the Astrodome. But not all poems are on household names.

“I wrote one about my dad playing catch as a child during WWII,” Broaddus said, “and what playing catch meant to him and his friends... WWII it was all encompassing.”

“Baseball is the common denominator. They’ll find history, they’ll find family, there’s some racial issues, some faith that doesn’t come out directly.”

The reviews have been positive for Loren who admits he’s just a pinch-hitter when it comes to being an author.

“Jo Van Arkel inspired me as a student,” Broaddus said, “and I always wanted to pass that on as a teacher.”

You can purchase the book at Barnes and Noble as well as by clicking here to buy it on Amazon.

On Sunday, June 13, the Greene County Historical Society will host Broaddus for a reading at Phelps Grove Park at 4 p.m.

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