The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

March 11, 2014

A Don McCormack column: A daughter, inspired by her father...

There’s a young lady pictured in today's sports section who earned yet another of what will without question be a lengthy list of honors on the hardwood.

Lindsey Mayle, the star point guard for Nancy Barbo’s Division II district champion Geneva Eagles, was accorded second-team All-Ohio recognition by The Associated Press.

Terrific, well-earned praise, yes, but the considering the circumstances Lindsey played with this season, it’s remarkable.

Lindsey’s dad, Tim Mayle, lost his courageous battle against cancer yesterday.

Tim fought long and hard against the disease that claimed him, but you can bet he was agonizing even more knowing the way it was affecting his daughter, one of the most well-known and recognizable players in the region.

Few outside of the Geneva program and community knew what Tim along with his family was going through.

Knowing now, though, what Lindsey did this season on the hardwood — considering the monstrous emotional burden that was upon her lithe shoulders — is nothing short of an inspiration.

We’ve been writing about Lindsey on these pages since she was a kid, literally, as a youngster at Austinburg Elementary School.

Of course, you may have heard of her older sister, too — Shay Selby, a 2008 Regina High School graduate who went on to a fine career at Duke and his still playing basketball professionally overseas.

Back then, Lindsey was known as “Shay’s little sister” but also for being a multitime Elks National Hoop Shoot champion.

The fact she has gone on to become a star on the basketball court is a surprise to absolutely no one.

And a big part of the success enjoyed by Lindsey and Shay was their father, who possessed a tremendous basketball mind.

In reading back through a series of emails he and I exchanged through the years, his basketball acumen jumps off the screen.

So, too, does his decency.

Tim never hesitated to write me a message about a student-athlete, or a team that accomplished something special. In fact, just last spring, he sent me one of those very messages, praising the job the hardworking people who help me to produce this product on an everyday basis do, as well as congratulating me for some personal accomplishments.

I recall the first time I actually met Lindsey in person. It was before a game last winter, when she was a precocious 5-foot-5 freshman... with a bloody nose.

Somehow, she and a teammate had gotten tangled up... in pregame warmups.

She took a seat on the floor, tilting her head back and holding her nose as I sped to get her a bag of ice.

Upon returning, she all but slapped it to her face, looked up and smiled.

“Who in the world gets a bloody nose in warmups?!” she said, rhetorically. “Really, who does that?”

To which a teammate replied, “You do, you goofball!”

Another smile emerged from the ice bag / paper towel combo that covered most of her face, then she said, “Aw, I probably deserved it for something or other.”

Her father, nor anyone, for that matter, deserves what Tim Mayle went through these past several months. And knowing what it was doing to Lindsey and the rest of his family, it’s difficult to fathom how he managed to keep going. To fight the good fight.

Lindsey led the Eagles to a knockout of top-seeded East Tech to win the Lakeside Division II district championship one week ago today.

In attendance at Lakeside Gymnasium was Tim Mayle, who somehow, some way, found the strength to be there to watch his daughter and her buddies conquer the favored Scarabs.

After the victory, the Eagles grabbed the game ball... and presented it to Tim Mayle.

When he raised the prized possession in acknowledgment, no one who bleeds Geneva Scarlet and Gray could keep a dry eye.

It was both heartbreaking and inspirational.

Tim Mayle lost his life to cancer, but he never lost his dignity, his courage nor his heart.

That will live on in his family, which means for those of us on the outside looking in, in the form of Lindsey. For we have two more years to watch her continue a career of achievement, honor and greatness.

It will be both heartbreaking and inspirational.

McCormack is the sports editor of the Star Beacon. Reach him at donmac@suite224.net.

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