Honoring Terry Sikes

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 27, 2002

Sports Editor

I saw something once on the Today Show about this elderly lady who had written a book about life without her husband.

He’d died some years earlier and now this sweet, white-haired grandmother was telling Katie Couric about all the things she missed about him. How, a few months after his death, she was still pouring two glasses of red wine after dinner. How she’d turn away from her buggy in the grocery store to ask him what he’d like for dinner.

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How she missed him.

It must be the same way for Jennifer Sikes.

Her husband, Terry, had been with Steve Garrett since he started coaching at Charles Henderson. He had become a fixture as the Trojans’ first base coach. He was there to offer encouragement.

But in April of last year, at only 38, he was gone, leaving behind a wife and an unborn son named Trot.

He died on a Sunday.

And Jennifer Sikes has got to be one of the strongest people around.

Because she was there in Ozark when the Trojans played on Monday.

It was pure Hollywood that night. If you believe people can find the briefest bit of joy, even when surrounded by sorrow, then you should have been there. It was an area game against one of CHHS’s biggest rivals. The Trojans spotted Carroll a 3-0 lead, but rallied to win it on a two-run single by Will Jones, 4-3.

Jennifer was there to cheer her boys on. After the game she cried with those boys too.

Later that week, they sent Terry off to Heaven wearing his CHHS uniform and carrying a baseball signed by the players he coached.

That was the way it should have been.

Garrett retitled his Trojan Classic Tournament the Terry Sikes Memorial Tournament this season and that is how it should be also.

15 or 20 years from now, maybe enough of us will still be around to remember that night in Ozark when the Trojans won a ball game; a seemingly insignificant one in terms of championships and the breaking of records, but one I know that everyone who was there will be able to recall, even if bitter-sweetly. The night that grown men fought back tears and watched Jennifer Sikes meet the CHHS baseball team at the visitors dugout following the game. The night she gave them all hugs. The night, for at least the length of a high school baseball game, we all stopped asking "why?"

But perhaps, one cool evening in the future, Trot Sikes will take the field at Hogan’s Hole and get ready to play in the tournament named after his father. Maybe he’ll look up at the crowd and see the faces of the people who knew a man named Terry Sikes. A man that played and coached baseball.

And in those faces he’ll know his father without ever having met him.

For moments like that, my friends, is the reason we go on living.