Life lessons from the field

Trey Topping puts his arms around his younger brother, Liam at West Ranch High School. Cory Rubin/The Signal

West Ranch baseball’s Trey Topping enjoys few things more than baseball, school and spending time with his family. Growing up as the older sibling to twin brothers, Liam and Miles, age 12, Trey has embraced the role of big brother serving as the ultimate example of what a role model should encompass.

Over the years, Trey has developed a strong relationship with Liam, especially. In 2010, he and the “Topping Clan,” as Trey referred to his family, learned that Liam had been diagnosed with autism.

“When he was 3, he wasn’t talking yet, and mom took him to a doctor and found out that he had autism,” Trey said. “I love my life. I’m really thankful for my parents and my grandmother, Nana, and it comes with its challenges, but it’s OK. He’s a really happy kid, and if you ask anyone who has spent time with him or been around him, they would say he’s a really happy guy.”

They share the same taste in music, evidenced at West Ranch baseball games before Trey is due up to bat.

“We love Taylor Swift,” Trey said. “It’s actually my walk-up song because Liam sings along to it whenever I come up to bat, so that’s kind of for him. I think this year it will be, ‘I Knew You Were Trouble.’ We also like Bruce Springsteen. We have a little speaker in my room that he jumps on the bed and asks me to play ‘Shake It Off’ next or ‘We Take Care of Our Own,’ so that’s kind of something that we share.”

In 2011, with the help of their parents and grandmother, Trey and his brothers decided to raise awareness for autism by creating the Topping Brothers Invitational Golf Tournament.

Entering its ninth year, the annual Topping Brothers Invitational’s main goal is supporting Autism Speaks, the leading 501c3 non-profit advocating for research and treatment for those diagnosed with autism, but has plans to expand the foundation by providing scholarships for families that cannot afford therapies.

The event is held at The Oaks Club in Valencia on Nov. 18 and features a round of golf, breakfast and prizes. Since its inception in 2011, the Topping Brothers Invitational has raised over $200,000.

The Toppings are just like any regular family. Trey urges people to treat those with autism just like he does his brother.

“Don’t look at people with autism as different than you because they’re really not,” Trey said. “They all have personalities. Like, Liam is goofy, he is kind of a prankster and he’s just a person like me and you and everybody else. Just try and treat them regularly, I don’t like to say ‘normal’ because I think he is normal. He’s Liam.”

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