I was on the phone recently with Greenbrier High School Athletic Director Garrett Black. He was updating me on the health of assistant softball coach Mark Moseley, who has been battling cancer for nearly three years.
To call Moseley an assistant coach seems ridiculous. He was so much more than a coach for the softball players at Greenbrier. He did just about anything he could think of to assist the Greenbrier athletic program.
I don't know Moseley well, but he certainly made me feel otherwise. I remember meeting him a few years back during an all-star event at Greenbrier. He came right up and starting talking with me as if we had been friends for 20 years. He had that special quality.
I decided I should write about Moseley and his importance to the Greenbrier program. I asked Black to send me any information he could about Moseley and some contact information for anyone else who might be able to add to the story.
The next morning I got the e-mail and started to put together some notes. After reading what Black had to say about his friend, and wiping away a few tears, I realized that he could tell the story far better than I could. So below is the moving e-mail I received from Black.
"Mark has been an assistant coach for the Greenbrier softball program for the past 11 years. He was diagnosed with colon cancer three years ago this June. I even remember the phone call. I was at the beach on vacation when he called. He said then he was going to beat it.
"My first assistant coach, Paul Brown, took a job at White County, so that left me with trying to find another assistant coach. My mother-in-law suggested I talk to Mark Moseley. I was actually looking for someone to coach our spring team at Greenbrier at the time, so I thought I would call and see if he was interested in coaching.
"I thought I would see how the spring league goes and make a decision after that. Well, here we are, 11 years later.
"Mark took care of all the things behind the scenes -- stats, hotel reservations, organizing parent workdays, organizing cookouts for the kids and their families, and handling scouting reports. Our scouting reports were so detailed that come playoff time it seemed as if everyone in the playoffs would call us to see if we had a report we could give them.
"I cannot tell you how much of his own money he has spent on the kids as well as on our softball program. He purchased the 2004 state championship sign that is in our outfield. He even paid for one of the girls to take the SAT one time. It was always stuff like that.
"Not only did he help the softball team, but also he served as Greenbrier's Athletic Booster Club president as well as running the scorer's clock for all of Greenbrier's home basketball games.
"It is very rare to find people these days who genuinely want to help young people and expect nothing in return except for the smile they see from people when they help. That's how Mark was.
"Today, he is at home fighting for his life. The cancer has spread to his liver, and the liver is in its early stages of shutting down. Yet when I visit him he is still worried about who is going to help me with all the behind-the-scenes stuff. He was very organized and detailed, and he wants to make sure that the softball program is going to be taken care of.
"Mark has a 1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass that he always used to drive to our summer tournaments and our Saturday morning practices. Mark loves that car. All the girls loved that car. I remember he would take the top down and sometimes during the summer, he would drive the kids to get lunch after a summer practice or game.
"Well, that car has been sitting in his driveway the last year because he has been basically bedridden. I called my brother-in-law who works at Cushman Paint and Body and asked if he could take a look at it. He called me back and said not only will he look at it, but also Cushman's would help in anyway to get the car running again.
"Last night we took the car back to Mark's. We rolled Mark in his wheelchair out to see the car in the driveway. The door was open and the 350 engine was revved up.
"All the times that Mark has made people smile during his courageous battle against cancer, it sure was nice to do something for him and see him smile. And smile he did."
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