By Steve Williams
As the golf world and sports fans in general watched Tiger Woods at the Masters last week to see how well he could do in his comeback attempt from a serious car accident 14 months ago, there are countless athletes who face adversity with courage and hope just like him.
The only difference is they are not famous world-wide.
But family and friends who know them can see and appreciate their attitude and perseverance. Tiger probably would appreciate them too, just as much as they appreciate his attempt to compete again.
I met and learned about Alicia Reeves’ adversity and battle with a medical condition at a high school softball game between Halls and Central last season at Fountain City Ball Park. And I was so impressed by Alicia’s attitude and kindness, I wrote a story about her.
In a nutshell, during Reeves’ freshman year at Halls, a medical condition her parents first thought was a form of asthma turned out to be a benign cyst inside her spinal column that was pressing on some nerves. Her surgery was successful and she began physical therapy.
As a senior, Alicia still has not recovered enough to play the game she grew up loving. But she is still on the Halls team and contributing in many ways.
Reeves was upbeat about the improvement in her physical condition when I went out to see her prior to the Lady Devils’ game against Clinton March 29. She flashed a big grin when she saw me and said she appreciated me coming out to see her and check on how she was doing.
“I can do a lot more than I did last year,” she said. “I can throw, but it’s super-dooper slow. I can do about half-swings almost. I can do a lot more stretches than I used to do. And I’m getting faster on walking.”
Although Alicia’s high school career won’t last long enough for her to get back and be a full 100 percent, she still has hopes of getting in a game before the end of the season.
“Yeah, I’m hoping though that I can potentially get to play in one of the last few games and at least get in there at one point,” she said. “If I can do that, it will be worth it.”
Alicia is still as busy as ever on game days.
“Oh yeah, if I’m not cheering out there, I’m putting in the bases or managing Game Changer,” she said, laughing heartily, “and kind of being like a side manager almost.”
It was good to hear Alicia genuinely say she is enjoying her senior year. “Honestly, even though I don’t get to play, I really like spending all the time with these girls. They’re like a family. You spend all your time with them.”
Incidentally, Alicia is one of the best high school singers in town, a member of the All-State and All-East Tennessee choirs. Just recently, she had the role of Bambi Bernét in the musical / murder mystery Curtains.
“I got a lot of laughter out of the audience, so I think I played my part okay,” said Alicia. “I sang and danced and acted.”
After high school, Reeves plans to major in Accounting at Carson-Newman.
Perseverance often comes into play as athletes have to overcome physical challenges. For four years, Alicia Reeves has shown us that she has a little of Tiger Woods in her. She didn’t quit. Instead, she did the best she could for the team.