The strength to carry on

By: Jim Linsdau, Sports Editor
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There are probably few things that wound to the core like the passing of someone too young to die too soon. Such was the tragic story of Heidi Greenwood of Rocklin High School. The 18-year-old was the victim of a blood clot that traveled from her leg to her lungs and ultimately claimed her life last week.

I did not know Heidi personally but knew of her through her accomplishments in running cross country for the Thunder. Much like last year’s loss of Whitney’s Christian Daniels and Lincoln High’s loss of Aldo Aguilar the previous year, losing someone so young isn’t easy to come to grips with.

But like both Whitney and Lincoln, I just hope Rocklin’s students can turn Heidi’s memory into the strength to pick up the pieces and carry on, knowing just how precious and fragile life is.

Rocklin girls basketball head coach Rob Ferraro was the one that first told me of this tragic story Friday evening. He was coaching the North team in preparation to play in this weekend’s Optimist game. He had wanted me to interview Rocklin senior Lydia Summers who was selected to play with the North. Understandably, Summers wasn’t up to making it to practice that day.

Thanks to the strength of Heidi’s father, brother-in-law and teammate, Placer Herald Editor Krissi Khokhobashvili was able to write a tribute about Heidi Greenwood and how it was she meant so much to her family and friends.

In an amazing show of strength, the Rocklin softball team won the Stephanie LeDoux Tournament that weekend with the weight of Heidi’s death upon their hearts. Heidi passed away Friday morning, the same day the Thunder played and won two games that same afternoon.

The next day, they defeated a strong Casa Roble team, attended Heidi’s memorial in full uniform, and returned to the ball field to defeat Roseville and win the tournament.

“Lots of tears and emotion but what an incredible show of strength and unity,” wrote photographer Curt Lerner, who follows the Rocklin softball team. “As parents, we are incredibly proud.”

Unfortunately, such things do happen and we can’t help but feel a huge sense of loss, considering how much life Heidi and those who went before her would have had ahead of them. There is a time to grieve and then comes a time to embrace the memory.

Of course, it will be some time before Rocklin High and others close to Heidi will no longer feel the pain of her passing but it will come. Students, teachers, family and friends will pay tribute in a way to assure she will not be forgotten and find the strength to carry on.

I’m sure Heidi would not have wanted it any other way.