Dickson's Graci Idleman honored with 2021 Patriot Ardmore Fighting Heart Award
There are important people in everyone’s life, but it’s safe to say a mom is the most significant. She brings you into this world and is usually there to watch you grow into an adult.
That isn’t always the case though, as tragedy can happen and take her away in a blink of an eye.
Dickson High School’s Graci Idleman experienced that heartbreak when her mother passed away in December 2019. However, Idleman didn’t let it knock her down and for that reason she earns the 2021 Patriot Ardmore Fighting Heart Award.
“Graci is one of my heroes because she has pushed through and I’ve seen her be stronger than any person should have to be or want to be,” said former Lady Comets softball coach Kristin Williams. “She chose to fight instead of fall over and crumple when she had every excuse in the world to – I love that about her. She has brought out a lot of internal strength in myself, just by observing her.”
That perseverance was on display throughout Idleman’s final season at Dickson. The all-district selection not only hit .402 with six doubles and 13 RBIs, but she also tallied a .897 fielding percentage and committed just three errors at first base.
“I think everything she did this year was for her mom,” Williams said. “This year we were able to put up a memorial at the softball field. Her mom was very involved in our booster club. And not just in Graci’s life, but every one of our athlete’s lives. We had a memorial up at the field and it was a picture of her, so Graci got to see her every game. I think that played a big role in it, too.”
And it was important for Idleman’s mom be there in spirit, as Williams called her “pro-softball” and saw her every game. That didn’t change thanks to the memorial and the other Lady Comets knew how important it was to her.
“Graci knew her teammates were there for her, but she was so strong that you never knew when she needed that extra help,” Williams said. “She pushed through it on her own, but she definitely knew we were her support system. It was one of those unsaid things.”
However, there are other things that are better said, especially at certain occasions. Williams knows that, and still remains in touch as Idleman moves onto the next chapter in her life.
“Her and her mom were absolute best friends and I know there are going to be tough days ahead of her,” Williams said. “In fact, I still text her every Mother’s Day because I know how hard it is on her. But she just pushes through, puts on her battle gear every day and goes to war. She’s a strong kid. I can’t even brag on her enough about how strong she is.”