After a season to remember in 2010, Bishop Dwenger softball coach Dave Moyer experienced the season to forget in 2011.
The Saints were the defending Class 3A state champions last year and had the talent to make a return to the state title game led by Division I players Andrea Filler and Ashley Burkhardt. The repeat was derailed in the sectional, but for Moyer it went awry long before that.
The 56-year-old had been advised by his doctor since he turned 50 to have a colonoscopy, and in January 2011, decided to go in for the precautionary procedure despite having annual physicals and feeling just fine. After a follow-up visit and a trip to see a specialist for a second opinion, Moyer had minor surgery, and he was diagnosed with the early stages of colon cancer.
The best option was to have part of his colon removed.
My wife, Melinda, was with me that day and probably took the news better than me, Moyer said this week. On the way home we talked about telling our three children. We were pretty sure Brent and MacKenzie could handle it, but our youngest, Madison, we were not sure about. I wasnt sure what to tell the softball team or how to say it.
Moyer told assistant coach Desiree Stone, who was going to fill in for him on the field and in the classroom, and then he told the team.
When I did tell them I just had them meet in my room as we had an indoor practice that day, he said. It took less than a minute, and I said, Lets go to practice. Over the next couple of weeks, it was confusing trying to get my plans organized for my classes and various doctor appointments and tests.
He coached for the final time last year at the Garrett Invitational. The following Monday, the Saints beat Snider for the SAC title.
I was home getting cleansed for the surgery the next day, Moyer said.
The doctor took 11 inches of Moyers colon.
He got a call from Stone or one of the players every day. Moyer was in attendance for Senior Day later in the season and even sat in the dugout at the sectional, but it was painful.
Maybe I should have just stayed home as my wife suggested, he said.
With some assistance, he was able to attend district and SAC coaches meetings and felt well enough to walk Filler and Burkhardt onto the field for the North-South All-Star game in June.
This season, things are pretty much back to normal for Moyer, minus a minor setback in January and a brief return to the hospital for three days. He had his yearly checkup moved up to March, and everything was OK. The Saints havent won as much this season as in the last couple and even lost the SAC title to Concordia.
But Moyer measures success differently these days.
I am back coaching Dwengers softball team and just enjoying the fact that I can do it, he said.