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West, TX high schoolers cope with tragedy through sports


POSTED: Saturday, May 4, 2013 - 5:07pm

UPDATED: Saturday, May 4, 2013 - 10:45pm

This weekend the Athens High School stadium was filled with residents from the city of West. The West ISD girls softball team was competing in a series of games against Pollock Central. The West ISD softball team was there to compete, but also escape the devastation back in West.

Coach Guyla Smith explains, "One kid has lost their whole house, and another one's house is under major damage. Almost everybody was effected by the deaths of the first responders or had somebody pass away."

It was easy to spot the pain on the players' face as they prepared for their game. Even their former West ISD campus was destroyed during last month's fertilizer plant explosion.

West ISD superintendent Marty Crawford explains, "Down the line we're going to have a hard time having high school and middle school because of the damage. These kids have got a pretty big challenge ahead but we're going to have extra curricular activities they're gonna compete in and this is just an example of how we're getting back to normal.."

Thankfully many of the players say that competing has helped heal the pain. West ISD player Heather Perry says, "Softball is basically what's helped me the most. It keeps my mind off of it and not to worry what's going on in town."

While it is unknown when the city will be rebuilt, one this is certain; the citizens of West will stand strong. Crawford says, "West is a very resilient, tough community. We're made for this type of challenge and  we're made for this type of fight and we're going to compete and be better because of it."

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