Vail Daily letter: Strength out of tragedy
Ryan Summerlin July 24, 2014
As a parent of one of the volleyball players at EVHS, I would like to take a moment to thank everyone for the support shown to the girls and the entire EVHS community following the tragic death of their beloved coach, Garrett LaForce. Although the girls had only known him for a year, his impact on their lives will last forever. The support that the EVHS staff pulled together in the hours after Garrett’s death was remarkable. To TPayne, Mike Gass and the other coaches that opened the gym last Monday to give the girls a place to be together and grieve, we cannot thank you enough.
Garrett, as he was never “Coach LaForce,” to the girls, will be missed; he was a trusted mentor, friend, coach and teacher. He was the big brother that many of these girls never had. He came into their lives last summer as the new young coach with an energy and enthusiasm that was contagious. He helped girls find a renewed love of the game. He was just fun to be around and watch him interact with the girls.
His first match as a head coach in Montrose was a five set loss for EVHS, yet he was still jumping for joy proclaiming it “the best match I’ve ever lost. They fought so hard. We are going to have a great season.” He was right; they did have a great season. He turned them into a team that enjoyed playing together again. They loved playing with him in practice and open gyms; they loved just hanging out with him talking about volleyball or life in general.
Watching the girls find their way through the season without Garrett will be tough — they had plans, he had plans. I am certain that the seniors, Jaimee, Morgan and Kenzee, will lead the team this season through their darkest hours and come out the other side in the only way Garrett would have allowed: Stronger.