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Archive for Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Tait: Making mom proud

April 30, 2008

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The thing about Brittaney Krug's desire to jack a home run to honor her late mother is that the LHS senior actually never has hit one over the fence during a game.

But that hardly matters. Chalk the gesture up to the many ways Brittaney plans to remember her mother through softball.

As if Sept. 11 didn't carry enough of a bad vibe to begin with, the day became even worse for Brittaney last fall.

It was on Sept. 11, 2007, that Brittaney's mother, Debra, passed away when an apparent asthma attack consumed her body after a minor car wreck. Found not breathing at the scene, Debra was rushed to the hospital, where she stayed for three days before passing away.

At the time, Debra and Brittaney both worked three jobs and struggled to make ends meet. But they never let it interfere with their relationship. They loved each other. They loved softball. And, more than anything, Debra loved to tell others about her daughter's talents.

Now, with Debra viewing the games from a different seat, Brittaney's every action is in some way connected to her mother's memory.

Afer the season opener against Olathe East, in which Brittaney struggled mightily, the thought of her mother calmed her down and urged her to refocus for the rest of the season.

"I wasn't sure if she was going to be able to hold it together," LHS coach Reenie Stogsdill said. "But she's been incredibly strong. Her defense has been so strong, and she has really stepped up as a leader for us. I'm just so proud of her."

Rightfully so, Brittaney also is proud of herself.

See, when Debra was still around, the LHS shortstop was prepared to pack her glove away and go to work full time. But then the accident happened, and instead of letting her loss define her, Brittaney rose above it.

"I was going to quit softball, but my mom passing away was her way of telling me not to," Brittaney said.

The best part about that thought is that Brittaney truly believes it. She's proven that on the field, where she has enjoyed the best season of her career. Debra's had a little something to do with that, too.

"Every single time I get up to bat I talk to her," Krug said. "Sometimes I catch myself talking out loud. Other teams' catchers must think I'm crazy. But I like it. It makes me feel like my mom's right behind my shoulder hitting with me."

Which brings us back to the one thing Brittaney wants more than anything, the one thing she knows would make her mom smile, wherever she's watching from - the home run.

With four regular-season games remaining followed by whatever kind of a postseason run the Lions can throw together, Brittaney's chances to hit a homer while at LHS are dwindling. But thanks to her mother's love and support throughout the years, as well as her own maturity in the toughest of situations, Brittaney's career will continue in college. And based on what she's shown so far, it's safe to assume Brittaney one day will blast one out of the park. It's also a safe bet that, when she does, Debra will be watching and will, in some way, tell people about it for a long time.

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