The Sad Story of Dickinson State's Stargazing Softball Players

We can get lost in LeBron changing his number or Peyton Manning and Tom Brady readying for a world-destroying showdown or Harrison Barnes choosing a zip code for the next few years all we want, but the smaller stories in sports too often go uncovered. ESPN's Elizabeth Merrill makes sure that fate does not befall the Dickinson State softball team with her fantastic story about the tragic deaths of three players earlier this month. ↵

↵Merrill delves into the lives of Kyrstin Gemar, Ashley Neufeld, and Afton Williamson, whose trip to see the stars in the remote areas around their NAIA school in western North Dakota was cut short when their Jeep fell into a pond on an unfamiliar route. The event is painful to read about, and the sentiments of the team and coaches are raw. Neufeld's roommate and best friend, a companion on past stargazing trips, must deal with how being left behind on that night probably saved her life, and fellow Blue Hawks must make sense of a night meant for finding a little peace and quiet ending with many tears and questions. ↵

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↵The mindset of an athlete who chooses to play softball in the middle of nowhere in North Dakota, as the story explains, has something to do with being part of a tight-knit family. Part of Dickinson State's family died that night, and what is left in its place is sorrow. Kudos to Merrill for a fantastic story well worth a little bit of your time and thought. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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