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Kate’s Kup

“There really isn’t a Kate’s cup everyone competes for.  Maybe a good idea would be to have a giant cup like The Stanley Cup with the winners name engraved.  Then again the winning team score is usually thirteen or fourteen under par and only a couple of teams can achieve such heights!  The gathering really is about winning but it has nothing to do with our golf scores.  The winner is the scholarship that goes to a fortunate young teacher candidate who is a senior at Comstock High School.  That student gets their tuition paid for and carries on the tradition that Kate Kwasny started years ago.

I was trying to think of how many years I have played the Kate’s Kup four person scramble.  I think it is five now.  I have had different team members over the years as some can’t do it and others take their place.  Scott from my softball team was on my Kate’s Kup team a couple of times including last year.  This year Scott and Tracie and Tim (also from my ball team) and his wife Lisa made up our rival team.  My team was formed in an unusual way this year!  Alan my lifelong friend from my neighborhood came back into my life three years ago.  He moved back to Holland Michigan which is over an hour away but still close enough for us to get together.  I talked him into playing a softball tournament with me (for old times sake) but we both started golfing  whenever we can get together.  This year I mentioned how much fun Kate’s Kup was and Alan was on board for golfing it with me.  Since Scott was golfing with another team this year and I didn’t hear back from Steve (who has golfed Kate’s Kup with me a couple of times and actually came up with the idea to participate years ago) we only had two of us.  Luckily just a couple of weeks ago I asked Hans from work.  Usually guys will hesitate and have to check their schedule but not Hans.  He gave me an answer within 5 seconds and it was a resounding YES!  He told me if we needed a fourth his friend Todd would play and we had our team set!

The course where lightening struck!

The course where lightening struck!

In 1989 I ran into an old acquaintance that used to live in my neighborhood named Terry.  Terry was starting a softball team in Kalamazoo and I was interested in getting back into the game.  I hadn’t played in four years (since my old team went their seperate ways).  Tim Miller worked as a student in our office and I asked him if he played softball because we needed players.  The next year 1990 Tim brought his roommates along to play with us also.  There was Leroy and Tim.  Tim Miller and LeRoy have long since went their seperate ways but Tim and I have played softball together ever since!  Tim is an excellent hitter and you can usually count on him for two or three hits a game!  I’m not sure if Tim really likes golf that much.  I played golf with him once when our softball team had an outing to celebrate a teammate getting married.  Tim’s game was a lot like mine.  He hit some good ones and some bad ones.  Much like me when comparing his golf game to softball, he is a very good softball player!  On my golf scramble teams I feel like that I am the weakest link.  My drives are embarrassingly short and crooked in comparison to guys like Scott, Alan, and Todd.  The best attribute that I have in golf is that I am a good putter!  Maybe it is all of the years of playing softball that ruins my golf swing.  Probably the same thing can be said for Tim who would much rather play in a softball tournament than a golf outing.  Still we were competing against each other in a strange way for bragging rights at the dinner that followed.  It’s a friendly competion as I remember a couple of years ago my team ran into theirs in the middle of our rounds.  I was feeling kind of down when they told me they were eight under par as we were hovering around even.   After the round I found out that they were just pulling my leg and that their score was worse than ours!

Kate Kwasny was born on September 15, 1983.  She grew up in Delton, Michigan with her older brother Kyle and her parents, Mike and Linda Kwasny.  Kate had a zest for life and loved every minute.  She played basketball, softball, and volleyball in high school!  She wanted to be a doer instead of an observer and loved becoming involved in causes and clubs that she believed in.  Kate loved the theatre and always ended up with a part in all of the plays she attempted!  She had a thankfulness about her and was always attempting to help others who were not as fortunate.

Kate Kwasny

In 2001 Kate headed to Western Michigan University with the dream of being a high school teacher like her father.  Through her years in college she adapted to many situations such as living in the dorms, living with her brother and his roomates, and living in Australia while spending a semester there.  In Australia she didn’t know a soul, but her sense of adventure was much greater than her sense of fear!  It was in Australia that Kate had time to think about her life.  As she told her mom and dad, “I had to go halfway around the world to find that what I really wanted was in my own backyard.”  That was Jeremie Coplin, her high school boyfriend.  They reconnected, and never were apart again.  They truly were perfect for each other, and their shared strengths made them a good fit.

After graduation in 2005, Kate started teaching at Comstock High School in Comstock, Michigan, where she had been a student teacher.  Kate’s enthusiasm and love for teaching made  her loved by her students!   It was one of those situations where the more she gave the more she received.  She truly loved her job and the difference she was seeing in her students attitudes and academic progress!

While Kate taught and Jeremie finished college and started teaching kindergarten in Constantine, Michigan, Kate and Jeremie became engaged!  They underwent pre-marriage counseling at the Methodist church in Delton, as Kate wanted God in every part of her life.  Jeremie and Kates wedding would have been July 21.   Kate Kwasny died on June 15, 2007 from injuries suffered from a car crash on Gull Road at the age of 23.  Kate was delivering thank yous for a wedding shower when the accident occurred on June 12 a little after noon.  Kate’s death left an empty void in all of the lives she touched.

A Granite Bench in Kate’s Memory

LOC Kwasny dedication (Hall/standalone)

We were playing the second or third hole of our scramble yesterday when the commotion occurred.  There was a loud long exuberance of screaming and shouting going on!  I don’t know how he knew but Alan thought he had the reason.  “Somebody just got a hole in one!” ,  he said excitedly.  As we concentrated on our game the thought kept creeping up in our conversation.  Wow, I wonder who it was?  It wasn’t too much after when it was confirmed.  The beverage lady came by in her cart and said she was running late because someone got a hole in one on one of the other holes!  When the news got to her she quickly drove her cart over to reward them with beverages as quick as she could!

As we were driving to one of our last four or five holes we ran into Scott, Tracie, Tim, and Lisa.  Instead of deceiving us with their unheard of great score Lisa and Tracie were excited!  “Did you hear that Tim got a hole in one?” Of course we had heard that someone got a hole in one and we heard the commotion, but we didn’t know who it was.  Standing in the background was Tim and his was not a jubilant reaction.  In fact he had a shocked stunned look on his face.  It was almost like he had been unexpectedly struck by lightening and though he wasn’t physically hurt it had dazed him.  He looked puzzled and almost confused as he looked me in the eye.  “Can you believe it Lew?”, he stated.  I didn’t say anything but if I did it would have been “no I can’t Timmy!”  “You and I are basically hackers!  How did this happen to you?”  Serously I was very happy for him!  Twice I gave him high fives and in the excitement and conversation Alan and I got lost on getting to our next hole in a timely fashion.

Jeremie is always the master of ceremonies at the event.  After the golf and after everyone is done eating the drawings begin.  There are many prizes that get donated each year and tickets are sold.  You can place tickets in the drawing for each prize.  Jeremie is always dressed kind of funny to shed laughter on the occasion.  This time he had a goofy looking rooster hat on.  After he made his introductery remarks he had a young lady named Brooklynn Brown come up.  Brooklynn was the first winner of the Kate Kwasny Scholarship in 2008.  She talked about how honored she was to have received the scholarship and how she had Ms. Kwasny as a teacher.  She talked about what motivation it is that the memory of Ms. Kwasny gave.  It was a nice speech from someone who benefitted from what Kate stood for!

Brooklynn Brown winning the first Kate Kawasy Memorial Scholarship 2008

Brooklynn Brown winning the first Kate Kwasny Memorial Scholarship 2008

I don’t know why Tim got a hole in one.  He must have just been at the right place at the right time.  He hit a 5 wood which is a club that I have in my bag too because I have trouble hitting a four or three iron.  Undoubtedly everything worked to perfection. Lightening does strike and sometimes it strikes unexpected places.  The event officials had to scramble to find a prize for Tim.  “We have never had this happen before”, Jeremie explained.  I’m of the opinion that it may never happen again.

I don’t know why Kate Kwasny died.  She was so young with seemingly  so much more to give.  It really doesn’t seem to make sense in our earthly minds.  Unlike Tim she was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  On her website there is a statement that is stated that she believed in.  “It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness”.  Through their efforts her loved ones have not allowed Kate’s memory and what she stood for to die.  They do not dwell on the past, but have lit candles for others to see the path as they pass.  I wrote a poem years ago at a similar time of loss in my personal life called “The Window”.  The poem is about confusion and not understanding events that happen. The words are just expressing to God how I felt.  The window is fogged up now and the view is unclear.   I was searching for answers that I couldn’t have at that time.  For now the Kwasny family and friends also see a fogged up window.  Life is unpredictable and unexpected things sometimes happen.  When the unexpected is good we shake our heads in amazement.  When the bad happens we shake our heads in sorrow and question Gods plan.  Kate’s memory lives on in others and always will,  but the answer to the question of why she isn’t with us anymore will have to wait until the fog is lifted.

The Window
by Lewis Hamilton
from the book “The Gardener and My Garden” c1997

Sometimes I shake my head oh Lord
I just don’t understand
I know it all works for our good
just let me see the plan

If I could see the outline
with steps one through four
I’d know why this has happened
and wouldn’t question anymore

But when I try to look
through the window of my spirit
It’s so fogged up I can’t see
I wish somone would clear it

This has tested my faith oh Lord
and all that I’m about
I’m to trust you for everything
There is no time to doubt

For in your time we’ll know all things
You’ll hold us, oh so near
Then you’ll explain your perfect plan
and the window will be clear.

Now we see but a poor reflection
as in a mirror, then we shall see
face to face. Now I know in part;
then I shall know fully, even as
I am fully known.

I Corinthians 13:12

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4 thoughts on “Kate’s Kup

  1. Thanks Lewis. Beautiful poem.

  2. Thank you for sharing. I really enjoyed the story and poem.

  3. Pingback: #4 Kate’s Kup | lightenload

  4. Cyndi on said:

    Lewis….what an awesome story. Thank you.

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