by Geoff Fox
There will be two showings of the documentary “Extra Innings: The Linn Hendershot Story” next Tuesday, May 16, and Thursday, May 18, in the Hancock Community Center at 6 p.m. with popcorn, hot dogs, and beverages available.
A trailer for the documentary can be found at https://linnhendershot.com.
As a young boy, Hendershot had polio and in the following years suffered from post-polio syndrome. His brother Tom Hendershot said that “pretty much” put him on oxygen 24/7.
“We had always talked about double pneumonia was probably going to get him,” Hendershot said. “And sure enough he got double pneumonia but it didn’t get him.”
That put Linn on a ventilator for the next 12 years. He passed away in 2008.
What inspired the documentary was what Tom Hendershot called a unique opportunity.
He said a cousin in California, Will Furman, who knew Linn was in the hospital, knew there was a movie to be made when Linn began working for Western Maryland Hospital.
Furman came from California and spent about two weeks with Linn, taking video, interviewing people, and having Linn tell his story.
While at Western Maryland Hospital, Linn started a computer lab at the hospital for patients, which opened the lives of the quadriplegics.
Because of his work as a patient for the other patients, Linn was asked to become the communications director at the hospital.
“Linn did a lot of things in his 63 years,” Hendershot said. “He never let what most people consider a handicap, he never let that get in his way.”
The videos used in the documentary were shot in 2000 and then given to a nephew who the family thought would end up doing something with them.
Hendershot said the nephew told him what computer to buy and what software to install. He had the videos another four years.
“I’ m in the investment business so I didn’t know anything about editing film,” he said.
A friend from California realized Linn’s story needed to be told.
Hendershot said he funded about a 15-month period for the friend to work on and edit the film.
The film shows Linn’s life from childhood polio and those challenges to going to a two-story high school with no elevators; going to the University of Maryland and being a manager of the baseball team, earning a baseball scholarship; working as a sports information department at the university and Bucknell University and the Atlanta Falcons; working for multiple motorsports organizations; and other stops along the way.
Tom Hendershot also ran for office, winning city councilman in Hagerstown and running unsuccessfully for county commissioner.
“I informed him he ran over too many toes,” Hendershot said about his big brother’s commissioner loss. “Linn wouldn’t step on toes, he’d just run over them.”
Hendershot said their dad taught Linn, as well as the rest of the family that “can’t” died in the cornfield.
Because he didn’t have muscle in his lower body at the age of five, Linn needed to have upper body strength.
Hendershot the family had a knotted rope Linn had to climb every morning and there needed to be a way to get rid of “can’t.”
“So daddy made up a joke that his friend can’t died in a neighbor’s cornfield up in Warfordsburg, so what are we going to do,” Hendershot said.
That was almost the name of the documentary, but Hendershot said no one would understand what “Can’t died in a cornfield” would mean.
The documentary was entered into the 2023 Maryland International Film Festival this past March in Hagerstown. The film was shown in the Washington County Free Library Community Room at 2:35 p.m. on March 24.
Hendershot said the goal was that when the documentary was completed, it would be entered into the festival. It ended up winning “Best Documentary.”
Hendershot said the documentary will be shown in Hancock because of Linn’ s ties to Hancock and Warfordsburg areas. A third showing will be at the Warfordsburg Presbyterian Church as well, he said.
“We’re not quite sure what’s going to be next,” Hendershot said about future releases of the documentary.
He said Producer Teri Hitt wants to talk to Netflix and other streamers, but it’s been in the works.
Linn and Tom Hendershot and their sister Marion Hardin created a not-for-profit called Walk the Walk. Tom Hendershot said they plan to raise money for Walk the Walk.
“Linn certainly was one who, even though he couldn’t walk, he didn’t just talk the talk, he certainly did walk the walk,” Hendershot said.