Monday, November 3, 2008
My Nephew, Trevor
This is from the Sioux City Journal's online edition with today's date. Many thanks to Tim Gallagher for this touching tribute to my nephew, Trevor. His mother would have loved this!
Jay Soars with Memories of Mom
By Tim Gallagher
LE MARS, Iowa -- Following a touchdown reception two weeks ago, Trevor Bouma looked to the sky.
It wasn't showy. He didn't take a knee in the end zone.
He just glanced high above the stadium lights for a second to acknowledge his mother. Linda Bouma died at home the day before, ending a two-year fight against ALS.
Linda Bouma, 48, left behind husband Don, and four boys, Aaron, Chris, Payton and Trevor, a freshman running back for the Le Mars Gehlen Catholic, a team that continues its memorable season with a Class A state contest Monday night at Lake City.
The Jays of Coach Tony Gunter weren't supposed to be this good this fall. Of 11 starters on offense and defense, only one is a senior.
"Football has helped me," said Trevor Bouma, who reflected on the highs and lows of this autumn. "My mom loved going to our athletic events. She wanted me to play football."
It came as no surprise to Gunter his speedy freshman would suit up Oct. 17, a day after the death of his mother.
"Football is his game," said Gunter, who lost his father at age 19. "I told Trevor to take as much time as he needed. I know there have been times this fall when it's been very difficult for him. But he never lost his focus. He wanted so badly to compete. Football has been a very good diversion for Trevor."
So, too, have been his Jays teammates, who visited the Bouma home three hours before the Oct. 17 game. The boys in their green uniforms visited as their freshman teammate prepared for a district contest. Captain Jordan Sitzmann presented the 14-year-old ball carrier with an autographed ball.
"Jordan told us that night would be special," Bouma recalled.
It was. Bouma caught a touchdown pass in a victory over Woodbury Central.
The Jays washed those green uniforms and donned them the following Monday morning at a funeral Mass for Linda Bouma inside St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Le Mars. Children from Gehlen lined the street, some saluting, as a hearse carried her body to Calvary Cemetery.
"It's not easy to feel the alleluia verse," said the Rev. Kevin Richter, referencing a verse that means to celebrate, to give thanks.
Seeing his teammates and the children standing at attention along the street are scenes cemented in Trevor Bouma's mind. He is thankful for their support.
"Having the team at my mom's funeral like that was pretty special," he said. "And seeing the kids lined up outside the school was cool."
The freshman starter known for his gritty defensive play (his mother once asked him not to hit an opponent so hard) remembers two of his mother's final wishes. She asked her four boys to take care of one another. She also told her sons to stay active in athletics. Watching her boys compete served as this mother's alleluia verse.
And while this 14-year-old hoped his family would have Mom around for 10 years following her diagnosis, he's thankful for the two they did enjoy.
"This has taught me to not take anything for granted," Trevor Bouma said.
On Monday, just before kickoff, the Jay in jersey No. 1 will pull his helmet on. He'll stand quietly for a moment, reflecting on the absence of his biggest fan. Then he'll nod, recalling memories she provided and her wish that he continue to play.
And if he scores, Bouma's glance will be sky-high.
Peer with similar pain
As Trevor Bouma played through the pain of losing his mother Oct. 17, a fellow freshman on the other side of the field was going through something so, so familiar. That night, Bouma's Gehlen team played Woodbury Central, a team featuring freshman middle linebacker Josh Haberl. That night, Haberl's mother, Kris Haberl, was clinging to life in her fight against cancer. Haberl, 45, died the following day. Her funeral was held Oct. 21 at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Moville.
Josh Haberl, a captain for the Wildcats' defense, played three days following his mother's funeral. His older brother, Nick, a musician in the Woodbury Central marching band, was introduced with their father, Scott Haberl, for parents' night before the game. Scott held a photo of Kris as he stood with other parents and their senior children.
A few minutes later, Josh Haberl broke through the line and blocked a punt by River Valley. He recovered it for a touchdown, the first points in a Woodbury Central victory. (Bouma also blocked a punt this season against River Valley.)
Like Bouma, Haberl scored. They may have been the two most emotional touchdowns all year in Siouxland.