Local soccer referee perseveres through adversity
Dave Marjoram was fighting to breath on a medical helicopter to Denver.While officiating a high school soccer game this fall, Marjoram swallowed a bee in his drink that stung his throat several times, and he then went into anaphylactic shock.After two and a half days at St. Luke’s hospital, Marjoram was released with a astronomical medical bill that he had to foot personally.During the past few months, the community has rallied to help Marjoram, with people offering financial, legal and moral support.In the face of all that has happened, however, Marjoram has somehow taken his misfortune into stride.”It’s like being in a rowboat and being thrown out without a life jacket,” Marjoram said. “The question is if you can get back in and go forward. It’s real easy to feel sorry for yourself, but things happen for a reason. If you have a flat tire, maybe it saved you from a car wreck. You don’t really know. You have to make the best out of the situation you are dealt.”Marjoram has been dealt quite a difficult situation. The insurance company that covers the Colorado High School Activities Association refused to cover Marjoram’s catastrophic medical expenses.Although Marjoram’s bills are more than the average U.S. household income, he’d rather discuss how happy he is to have received the urgent care.”Everything that was done, if it wasn’t done, I wouldn’t be here today,” Marjoram said.Soccer in his bloodMarjoram has been involved with soccer for 40 years throughout the country, between playing through the collegiate level, coaching and officiating. In his more than 20 years in the County, he’s coached for five years at Eagle Valley High School, coached at Battle Mountain back when there was only a club team and coached and played for the Pepi’s masters team.
“I’ve been in this game so long, my blood is part soccer ball,” Marjoram said.The community is well aware of how much Marjoram has given to the game. After all, you’d be hard-pressed to find a player in the County who hasn’t had Marjoram as an official.”He was the only referee here for a long time,” said Cindy Eskwith, who assigns soccer officials in the County. “He’s a workhorse. He’s worked every game there was. He’d do games by himself. He’s the go-to guy. If there were a tough game, or a playoff game, he was the man.”Lee Jones, head of the Vail Soccer Association, is just one of many who have gone to bat for Marjoram’s cause.”He loves the game and loves the community, and it’s a great thing people are helping him,” Jones said. “There is a real undercurrent of people who have offered help.””I’m fortunate to have great friends in soccer community,” Marjoram said.Even people who don’t personally know Marjoram are going the extra mile.Jones said he received an e-mail from the father of a son he used to coach who offered his legal services pro bono to fight the insurance company’s claim.Marjoram’s claim has been refiled and he’ll find out if the insurance company will cover any of the up to $24,000 maximum policy by Jan. 25.BenefitToday there will be a fundraiser at the Gore Range Brewery in Edwards from 3-6 p.m. for Marjoram.”We’re hoping to get $30,000 for Dave, which leaves him $24,000 in debt, which is better than $54,000 in debt,” Jones said.
Regardless of what happens with the claim, Marjoram is prepared to pay off whatever needs to be paid.”Once I liquidate my home, I’ll be able to pay off my hospital scenario,” said Marjoram, who plans on selling his home in Bellyache.If there is one gripe Marjoram has about the insurance shortfall, it’s that he doesn’t want anyone else who isn’t covered to be in his shoes.”When you talk to him about this, he’s passionate because he doesn’t want it to happen to anyone else,” Eskwith said.And because he loves the game.”How are you going to persuade referees to do stuff for local high school when you could be 54,000 in debt?,” Eskwith said.Always an optimist”This isn’t the first thing in my life and it won’t be the last thing that will be a surprise,” Marjoram said. “But I’ve got so much to be fortunate for.”At 21, Marjoram had an unexpected kidney failure that stemmed from an virus that came after he had strep throat.At 15, he was in a car wreck that left him with broken ribs, broken hips and a broken collar bone.In his 30s, Marjoram woke up one morning and with severe chest pain. After going to the emergency room, he found out he had a viral infection of the heart muscle called pericarditis. Marjoram recovered, but two other Eagle County residents died of the same affliction that week.
Marjoram has also had a couple of close calls riding a motorcycle, hiking and surfing.”I am a cat, as I’ve been telling people lately,” Marjoram joked.”That’s the kind of guy he is,” Eskwith said. He’s the most mellow, easy going guy. It’s what makes him a good ref and a nice person. He was my mentor when I got into officiating, and he’s been a great role model for kids.”Come this spring, when the kids are back out on the fields, they can plan to be accompanied by Marjoram. “It’s been a harder road to recovery than I anticipated, but I will be back officiating,” Marjoram said. “I go out there because of the kids, the love of the game, and if you don’t officiate, you don’t have the best view.”Dave Marjoram BenefitLocation: Gore Ranger Brewery, EdwardsTime: Today, 3-6 p.m.Info: Donation can be made in cash, with a credit card, or by check. Checks will be accepted to Vail Valley Medical Center or Vail Valley Charitable Fund.Entertainment: Jazz played by Kevin EaganSports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14631, or email@example.com.Vail, Colorado