But here's the thing. I'm actually kind of happy about this. Because I am blessed to be a friend of the Armstrong/Lessinger family, and I don't know more amazing people. Here's the best way I can describe them: Take Beaver Cleaver's family, make them old-school South Tampa but without even a hint of the pretense or haughtiness, then cross them with Modern Family. They are all smart, driven, family-oriented (just check out all the kids roaming the court after a match in The Corral), hilarious (Claire's husband Mike is one of the funniest humans ever) and just a joy to be around. Which is why seeing Claire do something like this for her Mom was initially a shock... but not a surprise at all. I will miss my favorite USF coach roaming the sideline terribly, but I'm so happy that my friends will be able to be there for each other during this fight.
There are few people that light up a room like B. Armstrong, and she's absolutely the coolest person on Social Security that you've ever met. She's a real estate agent at Smith & Associates, and a friend of mine I sent to her just made an offer on a house two days ago, so don't think for a second that a pesky little thing like cancer is going to slow her down. I look forward to September and sitting in front of her at USF Volleyball matches, as I could always count on her being the only other person in The Corral as nervous as me in tight fifth sets. But now with her daughter in the stands next to her, I might be the last fingernail chewer in the group.
So say a prayer for B. and her husband Jim, as well as Claire & Mike and their children/future-USF-linebackers Tyler and Tanner as they fight together as a family. This mother and daughter combo are two of the most amazing women I know, and B. has been down this challenging road before. If anyone can win this fight, it's these two; the tree and the apple that didn't fall but an inch away.
And as they know me to do, even though it's not from the stands anymore, I will keep cheering them on.