Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame Profile: Passion, Loving Heart Defines Buster Beal

By  //  February 15, 2014

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SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME

“Because he is loved by a town, he found his place in the world.” 

INSPIRATIONAL LEADER: Corporations pay big bucks to team builders to rally the troops. Buster does it for free. Seeing him leading the team onto the field or court as he proudly waves the large Merritt Island flag is purity in motion. (Image for Space Coast Daily)

SPECIAL VOLUNTEER RECOGNITION: Kevin “Buster” Beal Goes That Extra Mile For Both Friends and Strangers 

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – At a ceremony at the King Center in 2013, when Channel 13 television anchor Marla Weech named Kevin Beal the volunteer of the year for Brevard schools, a tsunami of applause and congratulatory yells for “Buster, Buster, Buster” erupted.

During the ceremony at the King Center last year, when Channel 13 television anchor Marla Weech named him the volunteer of the year for Brevard schools, a tsunami of applause and congratulatory yells for “Buster, Buster, Buster” erupted. (Image for SpaceCoastDaily.com Sports)

Kevin “Buster” Beal is beloved by everyone at Merritt Island High School, where he is the go-to guy for whatever a sports team needs.

On a light week, he puts in 25 hours working for his beloved Mustangs. On busy ones, he clocks in 45, all as a volunteer. He is the school’s biggest fan and motivator. He is their heart.

The 29-year-old Merritt Island resident is mentally delayed, but the disability is totally irrelevant to Buster’s appreciation for life’s little pleasures and his desire and ability to go not just an extra mile, but rather five, for both friends and strangers.

“The charm of Buster is that he treats everyone he meets with joy and love,” said proud mom, Sheila Beal.

When Buster was a sophomore, Chuck Goldfarb, one of his teachers at Merritt Island High, suggested he get involved in team sports. (Image for SpaceCoastDaily.com Sports)

When Buster was a sophomore, Chuck Goldfarb, one of his teachers at Merritt Island High, suggested he get involved in team sports. Buster didn’t just run with the idea, he careened with it. Although he graduated a decade ago, he continues his constant devotion to his favorite school.

“Buster bleeds black and gold and is the true spirit of being a Mustang,” said big sister Jessica, who Buster calls his “most favorite sister in the whole world.”

“Kids, parents, coaches and refs come and go through the years, but Buster is a constant. He’s always there to lend his hard work, time and support for Merritt Island sports. Years and years of Merritt Island High students, athletes, coaches and faculty have had an opportunity to know Buster. Everyone has a story to tell and some of them are priceless.”

Buster with his sister Jessica. (Image for Space Coast Daily)

They show the innocence, passion and loving heart within him.”

TOUCHING LIVES

He bikes to school each day from his home five miles away, arriving at 1:30, so he could get things ready before the teams head out onto the field after the school day ends. Football, soccer, volleyball and baseball keep him busy as sports seasons ebb and flow throughout the year.

“Being able to work with the teams keeps me a part of all the action,” said Buster, who can’t comprehend his almost-celebrity status in Merritt Island.

Kevin “Buster” Beal is beloved by everyone at Merritt Island High School, where he is the go-to guy for whatever a sports team needs. (Image for Space Coast Daily)

Meet him, and you cannot help but like him.“There’s no place in the Space Coast that we go that you don’t hear a “Hey, Buster” from at least one person,” added Jessica. “He has touched many people’s lives.”

Corporations pay big bucks to team builders to rally the troops. Buster does it for free. Seeing him leading the team onto the field as he proudly waves the large Merritt Island flag is purity in motion. This is love without reservations.

“One of my main duties for all the teams is to get them and the crowd pumped up,” he said.

Whenever the team scores, Buster is back out on the field with the flag, letting the world know that Merritt Island High is invincible.

“Every Friday night during football season, running the flag and hearing everyone cheering gives me a thrill,” said Buster.

BUSTER PROUDLY displays one of the many Merritt Island team sports awards he has had an integral part of helping his teammates win. (Image for Space Coast Daily)

As the football team’s manager, Buster sets up the field, hands out the uniforms, gets the water jugs ready and helps the trainer ice down and wrap injuries. During games, his duties include running the ball in and out of the game to the referees.

At practice, he works with the kickers, and throws passes so receivers can practice. For away games, he is responsible that all the equipment is safely stored in the bus before and after the games.

‘I DO WHATEVER THE COACH NEEDS DONE’

He is the first to admit he is not perfect. “One time I did forget to put the footballs on the bus for a JV game,” said Buster. “Coach was a little mad at me that day.”

After the games and on Mondays, it’s time to do the laundry and clean all the water bottles. “I do a little bit of everything,” he explained.

Lucky players and coaches are the recipients of Buster’s gastronomic treats of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with oatmeal cream pies in the middle, washed down with Gatorade.

Always in the middle of the action, “One of my main duties for all the teams is to get them and the crowd pumped up,” Buster said. (Image for Space Coast Daily)

Buster’s responsibilities with the soccer team are similar to his work with the football players. He helps them warm up by kicking them balls. During game time, he cheerfully retrieves the balls. There is no job he will not tackle for “his” teams.

“I help the coach get the field set up and do whatever he needs me to before and during the fame,” he said.

Come volleyball season, you’ll find Buster running the flag during the games to get the fans in the right crescendo of support.

Then there’s baseball.

“Like football, there is lots of work to be done,” said team manager Buster, who in addition to getting the field ready and helping players warm up, also retrieves the foul balls and occasionally even films the game for the coach.

“Basically, I do whatever the coach needs done,” says Buster. “A couple of games back, I even got to coach first base.”

SURE MAKES A PARENT PROUD

If you’re given to superstition, then you will think that Buster’s most important – and certainly his most unique – duty with the baseball team may be the pre-game ritual known as the “Dead Fish Dance,” eccentric performance art that supposedly helps good fortune to beam upon the team.

TIGHT FAMILY: Buster is supported by a close, loving family. Above, left to right, are dad Alan, sister Jessica, Buster, mom Shelia and brother Tigger. (Image for Space Coast Daily)

“He gets on the ground and flaps around,” said Sheila. “It’s strange, but the guys all think it will bring them good luck.”

Considered a coach by all the teams, he may not have expertise in strategies or stats, but Buster overflows with inspiration, passion and enthusiasm. What coach could ask for more?“Sure makes a parent proud,” said his father, Alan “Boston” Beal.

Buster is an amazing individual, but, so, too, are the family and friends who helped him blossom.

“Because people looked past his disability or imperfections, he found a way to make his own unique contribution to the world,” said Jessica Beal.

“Because he is loved by a town, he found his place in the world.”

THE 2017 SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME Banquet and Induction Ceremony will take place at the Cocoa Beach Country Club on Friday, May 12. 

FOR INFORMATION about the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame call 321-615-8111 or e-mail Contact@SpaceCoastDaily.com

CLICK HERE TO SEE ALL THE INDUCTEES

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5 Comments on "Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame Profile: Passion, Loving Heart Defines Buster Beal"

  1. Gary Shiffrin April 8, 2013 at 7:09 pm · Reply

    Needless to say, Buster is indeed an inspiration to us all. His dedication and passion for the black and gold is unsurpassed by anyone! I have known Buster since he was in junior high and he has never lost his love of the Mustangs and life itself, great choice by the Hall of Fame!

  2. Giles Malone
    Giles Malone April 8, 2013 at 8:57 pm · Reply

    Thank you Gary. The committee was unanimous that Buster deserves this honor and recognition. He is an inspiration to us all.

  3. Joanne Lyle April 9, 2013 at 12:29 pm · Reply

    Buster Beal isn’t just a household name it’s a Community name. One that our Community is Blessed to have and embrace. Buster has been an inspiration to so many young and old individuals in this town of Merritt Island, that for years they found entertainment type things to do just to have Buster be a part of it. Sunday Night bowling was a favorite for all again, young and old. He kept most of us in stitches of laughter for most of the night. I know I speak for many, when I say he was a Community raised young man, but he also raised our Community. We LOVE US SOME BUSTER BEAL…

  4. Dr. Maggie Zeiters April 9, 2013 at 7:20 pm · Reply

    Buster IS Merritt Island High School and his presence has a strong influence in our beautiful Merritt Island Community. With a thoughtful heart and as a steady participant in our school and community, Buster is someone we can always count on. Merritt Island is BETTER for having you in it, Buster! Thank you for all you have done for us and for what you will continue to do for everyone. GO BUSTER!

  5. Greg Cope April 11, 2013 at 11:24 pm · Reply

    Buster is a true inspiration to our Mustang Community. Just as much as we look forward to hearing the band play the horse, we look forward to buster leading our players on the field. I always welcome Buster’s surprise calls because he is so excited and wants to keep me in the loop. Keep up the good work Buster!!!

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