Finding Strength In A Loss
Death of father spurs McGowin to ‘strive and do better’
By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY | News-Telegram Sports Editor
March 27, 2008 - There is an empty seat in the softball bleachers for Amanda McGowin during her senior year. Though unoccupied, that seat spurs her on to even greater things.
McGowin, who has been a starter at second base for the Sulphur Springs Lady Cats since her freshman year, lost her father, John, to cancer on July 2.
She emerged from the loss even more determined to succeed at all things, a character trait that endured her even more to coaches and teammates.
"He passed away during the summer, and coming back to school was really hard," Amanda said. "Softball was something that he and I enjoyed so much.
"It's been hard, but in a way it's made me a stronger person. It's made me want to strive and do better, but it's a hard thing to go through."
Head softball coach David Carrillo has coached McGowin the last two seasons, and he justifiably gushes over her character and demeanor.
"She's overcome a lot of adversity with what has happened in her life. I know one thing about her - she's always able to bounce back," Carrillo said. "Her dad passing away is a bad adversity she's had to deal with, but I think she's handled it well. I think this season has been a little bit rough on her because softball was something she and her dad had a connection with. She's been able to handle that very well."
McGowin, who is also an Honorable Mention All-District volleyball player, started at second base her freshman year when she made a name for herself as an outstanding fielder. Since then, she has improved her batting.
She is now hitting .292 for the season with 19 hits and 11 RBI while striking out just twice in 65 at-bats.
"Now, that I'm a senior, I think I've improved my hitting a lot," McGowin said. "I love the game. I love stepping between the lines and going after it."
Her improved hitting has garnered her a a look from East Texas Baptist University to play softball. If that doesn't work out, she will likely head to TCU to become an anesthesiologist.
She has continued her fielding prowess, notching a .972 fielding percentage this season, the second-highest on the team among starters.
Carrillo said McGowin's temperament helps her deal with adversities and setbacks to keep her on the right track.
"She's never rattled. I never see her get mad or upset. When you look at Amanda, what you see is what you get. Her demeanor is constantly the same," he said.
"When things are going bad for her, you never know it because she just keeps battling through it. When things are going good for her, you never know it because she just keeps with it."
That mindframe has rubbed off on her teammates, Carrillo said, which is no small feat when dealing with teenage girls.
"She's a leader, but she's not a loud leader," he said. "She's a silent leader that does what she's supposed to be doing. Amanda's the type of person that really works hard at what she does."
What she does in school includes being a part of FCA, Leadership, Key Club and HSTE.
"She's one that I know will succeed in life," the coach said. "You don't have to worry about her. She's going to be the type that's going to succeed."