Lady Wildcats softball players rally around teammate

Wednesday, August 23, 2017
The Cassville softball team is wearing matching armbands to show support for teammate Lauren Turner and her family. Jared Lankford

Team displays love, unity with special armband

It has often been said that a sports team is like a family.

In good times, in bad times, or whatever the occasion, a family is there for each other and no one is ever alone.

On Aug. 10, the Lady Wildcats softball family was rocked with the auto accident that claimed the life of James Turner and seriously injured Leslie Tuner, the father and 14-year-old sister of starter and short stop Lauren Turner.

The shock and pain initially rattled the team.

“It’s tough, I’ve been coaching for 20 years and have never had anything like this happen,” said Shawn Johnson, Cassville coach. “It’s hard to find the right words to say to Lauren and even the team. You push through it, the team knows what is going on. You may not always say the right words at the right time, but this team is bonding together. We are getting stronger every day and Lauren and her family are all in our thoughts and prayers.”

Knowing that they wanted to do something to show support, but not quite being able put a finger on it, Johnson said a parent came up with the idea of an armband.

“The parent brought the idea to me and I asked the team what they thought,” Johnson said. “The girls immediately liked the idea.”

The armband’s design is simple, yet elegant. It is black, with a gold heart with Leslie Turner written through its middle.

“It is really, really important for us to do something for [Lauren],” said teammate Audra Brooks. “This [band] means something to her and to us. She has been through a lot and we want her to know that we love her and her team is here for her. Not just this season, but always.”

The team is not just wearing the armbands during its games but in practice as well.

“We’re giving Lauren all the time she needs right now to be with her family,” Johnson said. “I believe that in time she will be back with us. But, she knows we are with her and she needs to be with her family.”

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