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III: EPILOGUE High school golf (and assistant softball) coach Jake Stapleton’s speech:


Amazing. Seeing all of you here today is a true testament to the type of person Mack was. I would like to welcome everyone and thank you for coming today. Family, Friends, classmates,


teammates, teachers, fellow competitors, you are all here to celebrate the life of Mackenzie Kathleen McDermott—but known to all of us as Mack. Each and every one of you were impacted by the fun, always entertaining, witty, smart and caring Mack. Mack lived life exactly how it should be lived. She brought joy to others. I would like to share a few stories about Mack. Her sense of humor always stood out to me, she made practice, golf matches and every aspect of our time together fun. Mack is quoted in her senior yearbook that her best memory of high school golf was “exceeding our own expectations and growing closer as a team.”What she may not have realized is this was all accomplished because of her.


One evening after a golf match, the girls were getting brand new


golf bags. The girls’ old bags were going to the JV boys’ team. Mack asked if her and fellow teammate Becca Ramirez could be the ones to give the bags to the younger guys. She and the rest of the team started laughing so I knew something was up. After some conversations back and forth I convinced her to let me in on the joke—because with Mack, she was always up to something. Mack said that her and Becca purchased 10 boxes full of feminine products and planned to stuff every pocked in the bag full of them. Now imagine, with me, if you can: 14-year-old boys getting


ready to practice with their new Springfield High bags . . . only to find them loaded with tampons. So of course I looked at Mack and told her to go ahead and


proceed. Mack’s senior year was my most successful year as a golf coach. We made it to state as a team,


the first time since the 80’s. We had such a close knit group of girls that bonded well together. This was largely due to Mack. When things were good, she made them better. When we had tough times, she brought us back up. During our golf banquet, Mack’s senior year, I attempted to talk about each senior player. Unfortunately, emotions got the best of me and I cut each speech very short. Mack, I now have the opportunity to finish what I was going to say: Your carefree demeanor on the golf course made me a better coach because I realized there was more to golf than your score at the end of the round. You were the heart of the team and we couldn’t have accomplished what we did without you. I don’t have any answers but I do have a lot of questions. One thing that brings me peace and


whether you are family, friends, classmates, teammates, teachers or fellow competitors you should feel thankful you got the opportunity to know Mack. Mack always made the time you spent together special and there are some things that I will carry with me always: It’s okay to keep your shirt un‐tucked when your game‐face is on. Sometimes your competitors can turn out to be your best friends. And at the end of the day a hand hug is all you need. And you better believe, as my boys grow up, they will know what a hand hug is. Today is about celebrating Mack’s life. I end by encouraging each of you to be more “Mack‐Like”


by bringing joy to everything you do and becoming friends with everyone you meet in life. Thank you.


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