It was as if the sun was shining through the pouring rain. Oh, what a night! Our family was honored to participate in the 2013 Hughesville High School Athletic Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies performed at half-time during the Spartan Football game on October 4, 2013. Kathleen was inducted for her amazing athletic accomplishments on the basketball and tennis courts! My brothers and I proudly accepted the award on the field on behalf of our baby sister.
Below are my remarks from the private induction ceremony held prior to the game.
“I was honored to be asked by our father to accept this award on behalf of Kathleen. I am also honored to be able to try to represent our dear sister in this moment. Oh, how proud she would be right now. She was a phenomenal athlete, and we thank the committee for recognizing her athletic achievements in this way. We also extend our congratulations to the other recipients who will be honored tonight.
I would like to take a moment to recognize my two remarkable older brothers, Tom and Tim, who are joined by their wives and my cute-as-ever nieces and nephews. And, of course, Jamie. Finally, I would like to recognize our awesome parents. No strangers to this district, that is for sure. But, what you may not know is how truly blessed we have been to have these two amazing people steering our family’s ship for all of these years. Sometimes, I wonder what the past few years would have been without their strength, faith, and love. For that, we will always be grateful, just as I know Kass was….
Our parents never missed one of our athletic events. Between the four of us, that was a lot of seasons! But, they were always there to catch our eye in the stands…
I also know that Kass would agree that it was our wonderful parents who provided her with a foundation of strength, courage, kindness, gratitude, integrity…..and all of the representations of goodness that an individual could hope to possess. Kass possessed them all, and she showed us time and time again over the course of her life….her tenacity, her grace, and her strength.
I am happy to say that these same traits were reinforced during Kass’s days at this school, most especially through her participation in sports.
I know this is true because of what we witnessed as Kass fought her battle with cancer.
Kass was diagnosed on July 1, 2011 and left us for Heaven on July 2, 2012. Over that year, a year of magical love, our sister fought a very private and a very personal battle against a powerful foe.
She loved to receive cards and letters from her friends and former teammates, and to read the posts on FB filled with inspiration! There were so many special moments of encouragement and inspiration along the way. But, during that year fought, she was only able to visit with four people in person outside of her own family. Those four people are all here tonight. Her sweet friend and tennis teammate Mindy Thomas Flick, and her two coaches: Beth Myers and Paula Fantaskey Farr, and Paula’s husband, Steve. We thank them all for being a beautiful sparkle of light during a very dark and challenging time.
But, Kass wanted to see her coaches. She wanted to hear their inspiring words. She wanted to remember the teamwork, the trying and falling, getting up, and trying again. She wanted to draw on their strength just like she drew from their strength on the basketball and tennis courts all of those years ago. She wanted to reconnect with a time when she was a warrior….filled with power, determination, grit, and victory. She wanted to feel as though if she won those battles on the courts, she could win the battle that was ahead. This is what participation in sports at Hughesville gave to our sister. And, what her coaches gave her…….well, they may never truly understand the gift of inspiration and hope that they gave. But, we know, and we thank you.
Just before Kass was diagnosed, we took her baby girl Josephine, who was only 3 at the time, to play some tennis right here on the Hughesville courts. What a great day! Twenty years after she played on that number one court, there we were again. She felt confidence there. I could see it on her face. She was ready for whatever the future had in store. We could never have guessed in that moment where life would take us. Unfortunately, as we learned, we are not in control. The only best hope we have is to carry on with her life as our guidepost….to carry her legacy forward….to provide hope for others. If the meaning of a person’s life could be measured by the number of ripples formed as they cast their stone into a silent lake, then our baby sister Kass lived a beautiful and purposeful life.
Thank you and God bless.”