We all know the stories, Gibson limping around the bases after hitting a playoff homerun, Michael Jordan playing a playoff game with a high fever, or even David Freese and the rest of the Cardinals in back to back seasons of playoffs. The Cardinals were especially memorable for me, not only because I am a Cardinals fan, but because I am now old enough to really appreciate what happens. While the 2011 World Series will be long remembered as the one of the greatest comebacks by the Cardinals, the 2012 game 5 in the NLDS against the Nationals may be more resilient of a win than the 2011 one. While the Cardinals came back late in both games to win, the 2012 version was a full team ordeal, rather than just a couple of individuals going beyond the call of duty. The Cardinals in 2012 amassed a very large deficit early in the game (6) and began battling back a run or 2 at a time, but come the 9th inning, the Cardinals still trailed by 2. The Cardinals sent 8 batters to the plate in the top of the 9th scoring 4 runs, but the impressive thing was how they went about it. Several guys went up to the plate and fought off several pitches to work full count walks. The players who got the big hits, a guy with less than a month of MLB service time and a guy hitting barely over the Mendoza line. The team as a whole battled and beat one of the top closers in the league that season. There are also fighters off the field. Men like Jackie Robinson, who stood up to great adversity and overcame it. Men who put up with more than others, who received more trials than they deserved, but fought through them and proved to be better for it. People who not only were better for it because of their trials, but people who impacted others around them in a positive fashion as well.
One of those people for me has been my Aunt Lisa. This past Saturday my Aunt lost her 19 year long battle with Cancer. Three times forced it into remission, and three times it came back. Many people would throw in the proverbial towel and accept their fate, but my aunt chose, and it was a choice, to continue to fight. When the doctors gave her 4 to 6 months, she lived for 14. When the doctors told the family she wouldn’t make it through the night, she lasted almost a week. She fought down to her last breath, and the people around her were better for it. Her courage was inspiring. Not once did she complain about the rough luck she had, nor did she ever accept her fate. She refused to even discuss the possibility that she wouldn’t beat her cancer one more time. As I sit here and write this, I know she has already impacted many lives. I see it in her 2 daughters who are stronger and more mature than most her age. I see it in her family members, on both sides, who have seen what the power of faith and optimism can do. In sports, we love a player or team who against all odds finds a way. Well for 19 years, my aunt did just that, and I am proud to have had her in my life to show me what strength really looks like.
Thanks for reading,
T.O. signing out