Loading
High school football player dedicates senior season to his late mom
By John Shaughnessy

.- He thought of his mother again on Senior Night as he walked across the football field with his father.

When his accomplishments as a high school student-athlete were announced to the crowd, he knew that his mother would have hung on every word as she also held onto his arm.

Indeed, if he could have had one wish granted in that moment, he wouldn’t have hesitated in making his choice. It would have been for her—his biggest fan—to be there with him and his dad.

“It was hard,” said Casey Moorman, recalling the Senior Night on Sept. 30 for the football team of Cardinal Ritter High School in Indianapolis, Ind.. “I tried to stay focused on the game, but I definitely was thinking about her a lot that night.”

He thought about the story she told him about his birth—how he was born without a hip socket on his right leg, and how doctors told his parents that he may never walk.

He recalled how she had always been there for him through the surgeries, how she had always encouraged him to never give up, and how she always had cheered loudly in the stands for him and his teammates.

He also remembered Feb. 3, 2011, when Shiela Moorman died unexpectedly in her sleep a few days after the mother of three had undergone surgery.

And just before he ran on the field as a starting linebacker for Cardinal Ritter’s football team, the 5-foot, 7-inch, 175-pound Casey did what he has done for every game this season: He dedicated the game to his mother.

The bond of a parent and child

The story of high school sports frequently focuses on the deep bonds that often form between players and coaches, and between players and their teammates. Yet, it can also be the story of the deeper connections that are created between children and their parents during a time when those bonds are changing and being challenged.

The story of Casey and Shiela Moorman began with the challenge of Casey being born without one of his hip sockets. But the true story starts with Shiela’s belief that the youngest of her three sons would overcome any limitations and any doctor’s lack of expectations.

“She was such a driving force in his life,” recalled Deb Swintz, a longtime friend of the Moorman family whose son, Matt, is a senior teammate of Casey. “She never saw him as a boy who needed to be coddled and treated as different. She told him to just try, keep pushing and never give up. And if it didn’t work out, keep trying again. When he didn’t do something right, she’d yell from the stands, ‘Casey Moorman, you pick up your feet and move.’ ”

Swintz’s voice softened as she added, “She couldn’t wait for this season to start. This would have meant everything to her to see Casey playing. This would be her time to watch Casey shine because he’s worked so hard.”

That work ethic has made Casey the person and the player he is, according to Ty Hunt, the head coach of Cardinal Ritter’s football team.

“I have an adage that when it’s time to go to work, roll up your sleeves so we can get things accomplished,” Hunt said. “Casey is one of those people I can count on to do that. Casey knows that God has blessed us with our talents, but when the time comes to put a little extra into it, you can achieve more when you do.”

Hunt also saw the connection between Casey and his mother.

“She recognized the things he had to overcome, and that he has overachieved,” Hunt said. “She wanted him to recognize that life is difficult, and that he would have to do things to overcome those times.”

Clinging to family, friends and faith

In the eight months since Shiela’s death, Casey’s father, John, has continued to be there for him. So have his two older brothers, John and Matt. There has also been the support of friends, teachers, coaches and teammates.

Among his teammates, perhaps no one understands what Casey is going through more than Thad Starsiak, a fellow senior who plays linebacker next to Casey. Thad’s mother died when he was 12.

“For me, it was really hard at first,” Thad says. “Casey has been outstanding through everything. He has an awesome work ethic. He works hard in the classroom and on the field. He’s a real good role model, and he’s a great friend, too. He’s going to go far in life.”

Sharing the bonds and the dreams of a team through months of weightlifting sessions, practices and games has helped Casey. So has being a part of the faith communities of the high school and St. Christopher Parish in Indianapolis.

“Their family is so close,” Swintz said. “Instead of being hurt and angry, they’ve clung to each other and their faith. Their hearts are breaking, but they keep picking up their feet every day.”

As Casey tries to keep moving forward, he also sometimes looks back.

He remembered that as soon as he recovered from his hip surgery when he was four, his mom had him start running and playing sports “because she didn’t want me sitting inside playing video games.”

He recalled the family dinners they had together.

He thought about the times she didn’t like a referee’s call, and how she would stand up in the bleachers and shout her displeasure.

Most of all, he focused on her goodness.

“She would do anything for you,” he said. “She was a great mother. She raised all three of us to be great people. I think I’m a pretty nice guy, and my brothers are very good people. She was always smiling and laughing about something. And she loved football.”

Casey smiled through most of his memories of his mom. But his emotions surfaced at one point.

“She wanted to see me be the best I could be,” he said softly. “She really wanted to see me play this year. I have personally dedicated the season to her. I keep that to myself, but I do like to play for her.”

Printed with permission from the Criterion, newspaper for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, Ind.


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Interview with Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See on the persecution of Christians
New book 'The Vatican unknown'
A Look at India from Rome
3D Church mapping
#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Aug
28

Liturgical Calendar

August 28, 2014

Saint Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 24:42-51

Gospel
Date
08/28/14
08/27/14
08/26/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: 1 Cor 1: 1-9
Gospel:: Mt 24: 42-51

Saint of the Day

St. Augustine »

Saint
Date
08/28/14
08/27/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 24:42-51

Homily
Date
08/28/14
08/27/14
08/26/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: