DAYTON TEAM PLAYS SEASON IN HER HONOR
WEST MILTON, OHIO - To describe MICHELLE SHEPHERD only one word is needed, “SPECIAL”
“MICHELLE was a special person, “MICHELLE'S BOYZ manager JAMIE VICKERS said, “She was that type of individual that once you met her, you would never forget her. MICHELLE was that special type”
To the MICHELLE'S BOYZ team she was like a “team mom”. She was the organizer off the field, the head cheerleader, social chairperson and she did anything that was asked of her.
“I remember when our team first started playing together and of course a lot of the wives didn't know each other,” MICHELLE'S HUSBAND TOM said, “ All the wives were sitting in individual groups at our game, three here, another three over there, one by herself and so forth.”
What happened next gives you an idea of who MICHELLE was.
“Between games we all went to the parking lot but MICHELLE wasn't with us and I didn't know where she was, “SHEPHERD said, “When we all returned to the field for the next game, there was MICHELLE. She had taken everyone's lawn chair and arranged them all together next to each other.”
“It was MICHELLE'S way of making certain nobody was left out and we all, wives included, were part of a team,” SHEPHERD said, “And from that time on, all the wives sat together in the same order MICHELLE had arranged”
MICHELLE never missed a game, even when they discovered she had a brain tumor and the pain at times had to be unbearable.
“The doctor told me the headaches MICHELLE was having was ten times worse then a migraine and he didn't know how she was able to cope with it,” SHEPHERD said, “She was able to because of her fighting spirit.”
“She kept fighting the pain even when it was time to go to a tournament,” he continued, “She loved the guys and the wives on the team and she was always excited when we got together, she always looked forward to tournaments.”
Tom said MICHELLE also had a calming affect on him and knew when it was time to settle him down.
“At times I get frustrated during a game and let my emotions get the better of me,” he explained, “When that would happen, MICHELLE would come down to the dug out and say, 'OK, THOMAS that is enough, settle down'. She always called me TOM except when she wanted me to settle down and then it was THOMAS. And when I heard THOMAS, I knew I had better settle down.”
MICHELLE, with her laughing eyes and smiling face, was always there for others and again, always more concerned about others' problems than her own
On January 5, 2013 the illness finally snuffed out her fighting spirit.
“She was doing well but had to go back into the hospital and some complications set in and she never left the hospital,” SHEPHERD said.
“I still feel her presence around me and especially on the ball field,” SHEPHERD said., “In that last inning in the championship game at DALTON, I know she was there.”
“I agree, I know MICHELLE was with us at DALTON, “ VICKERS said, “We went into the seventh inning tied in the championship game and everybody was saying, 'Come on, we have to win this for MICHELLE.”
RICK HOPPE did his part pounding out a two-out grand slam home run to put MICHELES BOYZ on top 24-20 but they still needed to shut the door on BIG TEN in the bottom of the seventh.
“With one out in the bottom of the seventh and runners on base for BIG TEN, I told DEANO MILLER (second baseman) we needed to end this game and win this tournament for MICHELLE,” SHEPHERD said, “Someone else must have been listening.”
The final two outs of the game came on a diving stop by MILLER and a flip to SHEPHERD (short stop) for a force out and a diving stop by SHEPHERD and a flip to MILLER for the final out.
“That was a very special moment,” SHEPHERD said, “I stayed on my knees and with tears in my eyes looked towards the heavens and spoke to MICHELLE.”
That game ended a very memorable year for the team who played the season in honor of MICHELLE by changing the team's name to MICHELLE''S BOYZ.
“I agreed to let the team call ourselves MICHELLE'S BOYZ, but for only for this year,” SHEPHERD said, “After that everyone can remember MICHELLE in their own individual way.”
However, they remember MICHELLE, you know it will be SPECIAL because after all she was a VERY, VERY SPECIAL person.