I'd like to share a very important story, that I think everyone should read. I wasn't sure where to put this thread, because it's not specifically a baseball thread, but I do feel that everyone should read it.
Amy Marton, a 17 year old senior from Northwestern High School in my hometown of Springfield, Ohio, passed away April 12th after a two year battle with brain cancer.
At the time of her diagnosis, Amy was the Northwestern goaltender for the soccer team, one of the best goaltender's in the area, as a matter of fact, not just any goaltender. At the time of the diagnosis, the doctor's were giving her only a matter of months to live. Almost ANY other person would pack it in and call it a day. But Amy Marton did the unthinkable... she KEPT PLAYING!
Through two years, through surgeries and treatments, the kid with the unbelievable heart continued to play the sport she loved. She missed ONE GAME in TWO YEARS while battling a brain tumor that eventually claimed her life.
This past season, Amy allowed less than a goal a game, while leading her team to a successful season. Often times in sports we talk of heroes. If Griffey hits a walk off home run, or Wayne Krivsky makes a big deal to put us over the top, they're our icons, we worship the ground that they walk on. But this young lady is a TRUE hero in every sense of the word.
She volunteered for the Make A Wish foundation, and helped younger children with brain diseases live a happier life, all while battling her own sickness, and still playing soccer. Even as many of the children that she had grown to love passed away, she continued to be strong, and fight a battle that would eventually take her life.
According to Lucas Sullivan of the Springfield News Sun, she had a stuff pig named Louise. She named her tumor Thalma, and together they were Thalma and Louise. The sense of humor remained through it all.
This young woman was dying before our eyes, and she provided OTHER people with strength and inspiration. Often times the term "role model" is thrown around in sports, but very often does it actually apply. But this is truly an example of an absolute hero.
This is a perfect example of what sports can do, and how it can transcend the field. She was LITERALLY the heart and soul of that team, carrying her teammates to new heights while fending for her life. This young lady stared death straight in the face for two years, and didn't blink an eye.
This is a story that goes way beyond athletics. So many times, we read about an athlete that won't play because the franchise tag has been placed on him, or is holding out for more money, or is sulking and not giving his all because he's not getting a long term deal he feels that he deserves. Or we'll see an athlete like Manny Ramirez, a man many young people look up to, ask out of a game in the middle of a pennant race because of a "sore" knee.
You look at all of that stuff on a day to day basis, and you lose sight of people like Amy Marton. People that compete, and battle, in more ways than one. Someone that left her all on the field, and forged friendships that will last a lifetime.
Amy Marton may have lost the battle, but she won the war. Instead of running from her illness, she used it to set a great example. The steroids she was on caused her to swell, and the cancer ravaged her body, but it NEVER touched her soul.
So the next time you hear people complaining about how there are no role models in sports, tell them of Amy Marton. Tell them about how she touched an entire community, how people who never knew who her shed some tears after finding out that she passed away (for example, me). Let them know of the legacy that she left on this earth, and if you're looking for a true role model that your children should look up to, tell them the story of Amy Marton.
I thought the standing ovation that Ryan Freel received last year after his miraculous catch in center field robbed Pujols of extra bases was the greatest ovation anyone could ever get... but I can only imagine the applause that young lady received upon her entrance into heaven. God Bless you Amy Marton, you're a role model for us all.