Jeff Jacobs: How an athlete created an inspirational story in a painful year of CT high school sports

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Westhill players Nasir Thornton (3), David Moodie (2), and Kevin Leba (1) lean on one another during a moment of silence honoring teammate Jordan Martinez in the team's first game since his death at Westhill High School in Stamford, Conn. Monday, Oct. 4, 2021. Martinez, a senior, died in a single car crash in Greenwich on Sept. 25. He was honored by fans and teammates at Westhill's game against Amity on Monday, the team's first game since his death. Tyler Sizemore / Hearst Connecticut Media

Nasir Thornton scored the overtime goal in an 11-10 victory over Trumbull to certify Westhill for the state lacrosse playoffs for the very first time in 11 years.

Yes, May 6 was a good day for the three-sport senior. Nasir requires each of those good days given that the evening of Sept. 25 when among his friends, Jordan Martinez, passed away in a car accident in Greenwich.

Thornton stated. I saw the opening and took the shot. Thankfully, it went in.”

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Westhill was 25-111 between 2012 and also 2021, so a 9-7 record into the CIAC Class L qualifying rounded video game in your home against Conard on Saturday stands for a quantum leap forward.

” I started playing lacrosse in the spring of the eighth grade,” Thornton stated. “I like it, due to the fact that it puts every element of each sporting activity right into one. You’ve obtained the athleticism of football and the protective part is like basketball, relocating your hips and also feet.”.

Thornton will attend Norfolk State in the fall. He’ll play football.

It was on the football field at Westhill on Oct. 4 where I initially met Thornton and also Carlos Escobar. Jordan Martinez was the buddy that was constantly positive. On the first play from scrimmage, the whistle blew.

Jordan’s spot at left guard was left empty. It was a stirring minute. Nassir would certainly not enable himself to consider the empty space on the offending line.

” Going to the crash where Jordan passed, recalling at those occasions, everything was so excruciating,” Thornton said. “I could not bear to look at my friend in his casket. And then to go play football after, it hurt.

” Carlos talked with me. He stated, ‘I recognize this is what Jordan would certainly desire us to do. And also we will certainly for life honor his name betting him.’ “.

When the 2009 Honda Civic he was driving on East Putnam Method struck a wall, Greenwich police figured out Martinez was eliminated. Firemans needed a hydraulic-extrication tool to remove him from the wreckage.

Thornton stated he was mosting likely to go with Jordan that evening and also, instead, went with Escobar. They obtained a phone call. There was an accident.

” We rushed there,” Thornton claimed. “I was there while he was taken into the rescue …”.

Nasir’s voice broke. He relapsed with feeling.

” Oh, God,” he stated. “Just considering it today. Jordan’s mommy …”.

The greatest anxiety for a moms and dad is the loss of their kid. Whatever else is tied for 2nd place. It is the greatest misfortune.

” A spouse that sheds a hubby is called a widow,” Jay Neugeboren when composed. “A hubby that loses a wife is called a widower. A youngster who loses his moms and dads is call an orphan. There is no word for a moms and dad that sheds a kid. That’s how horrible the loss is.”.

Neugeboren’s words strike us as a country this week with the mindless murders of 19 kids as well as two educators at Robb Primary school in Uvalde, Texas. After Sandy Hook, we yelled, “Never once more!” A years later, it has happened again as well as again.

It strikes us, too, in one more method this week in Connecticut as we see an additional one of our high college professional athletes pass away. An additional one of our jewels gone.

Hayden Thorsen, 16 as well as a student at Darien, died by suicide last Saturday, according to the state Workplace of the Principal Medical Examiner. He played goalkeeper for the Mid Fairfield Junior Rangers.

Matthew McEvoy, 17, passed away by suicide on March 31, the clinical supervisor’s workplace said. He played hockey and golf at Darien.

At the ice rink at Brunswick College in Greenwich, St. Luke’s Teddy Balkind suffered a fatal neck injury Jan. 6 throughout a junior varsity hockey video game. He was struck by the skate of one more player. The hockey neighborhood, from the NHL to pee wees, mourned the loss of the 16-year-old sophomore.

In Shelton, a high institution event late on May 14 on Laurel Glen Drive turned right into a suv criminal activity scene. McGrath played football and also lacrosse at Fairfield Preparation. Valle played football at St. Joseph’s.

In Plainfield, my hometown, elderly football gamer Andrew Vincent was killed in a single vehicle crash shortly after midnight on April 16. He had obstructed a last-minute pass to seal a Thanksgiving victory over Griswold as well as now he was being grieved at funeral services in all Hallows Church.

In Hamden, on Might 9, policeman reacted to a report of shots fired at the Farmington Canal Linear Park near Treadwell Ave. They discovered Elijah Gomez assassinated in broad daylight. He played fresher football at Hamden and had actually turned 15 the previous week.

There is a misguided idea at times that the affluent and fortunate do not suffer like the rest of us. Death and also enduring haunts us all, some earlier than later, and Fairfield Area has suffered mightily this institution year.

” The pain of shedding these attractive young lives is excruciating,” Darien Schools Superintendent Alan Addley claimed in a statement. “It is devastating for the households, the college as well as the town.”.

The FCIAC lacrosse final between Darien and also Wilton, scheduled for Thursday, has been relocated up until 11 a.m. Saturday at Brien McMahon in Norwalk. The funeral services for Hayden Thorsen is Thursday. There are participants of the lacrosse team who are acting as pallbearers and also most of the group will be there.

Thornton, on the other hand, will take the field 11 miles away at 1 p.m.

I ask him an impossible inquiry. Is there anything excellent that has originated from Jordan’s fatality?

He answered it this way.

Each Sunday during the NFL period after the funeral, he and also his colleagues would go to Jordan’s mom’s home to watch games, have brunch and hang out with his mother and sis. They still see.

” Entering basketball, I know Jordan would have been at all my video games,” Thornton claimed. “He likewise was going to play lacrosse with us our senior year. Yes, it has been harsh.

” The one advantage has been connecting with his mommy as well as his sis. I’ve never ever been so near them. Although I’m going off to university, I’ll touch with them as well as see them when I’m back for vacations to ensure they are alright.”.

Nasir claimed the Westhill guys have a claiming now.

E for J.

” Every little thing for Jordan,” he claimed. “Whatever we do, every little thing I do, I always put Jordan’s name with it. My success are his success.”.

And that objective that placed Westhill right into the state playoffs for the first time in 11 years. E for J?

” Oh, yeah,” he stated. “It assists with the healing. And I have actually been requiring the recovery, because (Thursday) marks eight months without him.”.

Thornton claimed.” I started playing lacrosse in the spring of the 8th quality,” Thornton stated.” Being at the crash where Jordan passed, looking back at those occasions, whatever was so painful,” Thornton said. Thornton said he was going to go with Jordan that night as well as, rather, went with Escobar.” Coming into basketball, I understand Jordan would have been at all my video games,” Thornton claimed.

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