Matthias Danczafus

  by Carl Coffee
Every member of WSEM has a story of how they joined the league. Some stories are interesting, some are lame, and for a small few, some are astounding. For one member, a man by the name of Matthias Danczafus, his story is miraculous.

June of 1992 was like any month for the Amish people located in Berks County, PA. The days were long, which meant more daylight for chores and cropping. A loving couple, Hermathis and Mary Ellen were expecting their eleventh child, and he was born healthy and happy. Matthias was a joy to Hermathis and Mary Ellen, and he grew up excited to follow in his father’s footsteps.

When Matthias turned 16, he was given the opportunity to experience rumspringa, which is a period of adolescence for some members of the Amish community during which a youth temporarily leaves the community to experience life in the outside world. While many of his peers went to New York City or Philadelphia, Matthias went to Shelton, CT, the home of Wiffle ®.

You see, although nobody in his community ever knew about it, Matthias had a secret love for Wiffleball. One day when he was 11 years old, Matthias wandered off and found some young boys around his age playing this silly game at a neighboring farm. They explained to him it was called Wiffleball, and they let him join in. In Matthias’ first at bat, this 11 year old Amish boy hit a home run over a barn that these kids never saw happen before. Matthias was also a pitching phenom. He pitched a perfect game in his first ever appearance on a mound. He invented a pitch called the ‘Amish Answer’. It was a combination fastball/curveball/slider/riser/knuckle/sinker. It was unhittable.

Up until 2008 Matthias secretly kept playing with the neighboring boys until it was time for his rumspringa. He packed up his horse and buggy, and made the long pilgrimage to Shelton. During his voyage, Matthias dreamed of what his new life would be like on the outside world. His Wiffleball playing friends told him he was the best they have ever seen, and Matthias started to believe it. Unfortunately, 50 miles away from Shelton, tragedy struck.

It was early in the morning, and Matthias was ready to make one last leg to get to Shelton. It was still dark out, and unfortunately the reflector on the back of his buggy had fallen off. A speeding truck never saw him, and Matthias was thrown into a river and floated away. His body was never found after seven days of searching, and he was pronounced dead.

Matthias floated and floated until he somehow ended up on the shores of Lake Erie in southeast Michigan. He had pretty bad amnesia and had very little recollection of his previous life. He didn’t remember his days living as an Amish, nor did he remember his love for wiffleball. He somehow remembered parts of his name, and told people his name was Matt Dancza. Matt was able to live a somewhat normal life for the next five years working at Meijer and making new friends.

It is now 2013 and as you can see, Matt is playing Wiffleball again for the Belgian Wiffles. Nobody knows if he will ever remember his old life. What we do know is he is once again playing the sport he loved. He has even pitched a little bit. We haven’t seen the ‘Amish Answer’ yet, but when we do, I am sure it will be miraculous.