Too soon gone

Posted by Ken Campbell January 16, 2010 0 Comment 845 views

It was five years ago, maybe six, when I was coach of the Bellarmine Prep girls C-Team Softball squad. Fifteen ninth-grade girls, some of whom actually had talent. We won some games, lost others, but the experience was a good one, and it was a fine season.
Every now and then, I’d be lucky enough to get one of the JV or Varsity players down to a C-Team practice to do some peer coaching with the younger players who played the same position as they did. We had a catcher who did an adequate job of blocking the plate, holding the ball in play on those tricky pitches and working with the pitchers on basic strategy. Her weakness was her throw to second base. She had a segmented style that took too long to deliver the ball, and even the most sluggardly opponent, and we had a few, could move safely from first to second with no fear of retribution.
I remember the day when Molly, the catcher from the JV team, came down to the C-team practice field to work with our catcher on her release. I remember her patience, working steadily through the mechanics with the younger player, gently encouraging her as she struggled to get better. I had not worked around Molly much before, but I remember thinking of her, from that day on, as a mature and responsible young woman. She was a natural boost to her surroundings and, even then, there was something obviously special about her.
She went on to play a couple of seasons at the varsity level, then disappeared off to college. I no longer coach at Bellarmine and in the years since that spring day at practice, I hadn’t thought much about her. I had no idea that she was in the middle of a year in Haiti, working in an orphanage, no idea of the wide net of kindness that she had thrown. Until this week.
When the earthquake hit Port au Prince on January 12, Molly’s building, a former hospital, collapsed, and went instantly from being a solid seven-story structure to a forty foot-high pile of rubble. She was inside at the time, and she was killed as a result of the collapse.
And, without Molly Mackenzie Hightower in it, the world has become a much smaller place.

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