Playing Through The Pain

Posted: Wednesday, August 29, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Kevin and Tina didn’t have to use a computer dating service to find out if they were right for each other, they knew as soon as they met a year and a half ago on the campus of South Dakota State University…probably at the fitness center.
Sports was their common denominator and both were already star athletes at SDSU..she in volleyball and he in baseball.
Amid all the demands of athletics and academics, Tina and Kevin found time for each other and fell in love.
They started seriously talking about the future and planning for a life together after college.
But it wasn’t to be.
 
On Sunday August 19th, Kevin decided to take his skateboard and and head over to Larson Park in Brookings.
Friends say he’d been known to fall off that thing occasionally but he’d always laugh and get right back up again.
This time, though, he’d fallen and didn’t get up. 
Arrangements were made to get him to Avera McKennan in Sioux Falls for treatment of a fractured skull.
 
When Tina found out, she rushed to the hospital to be by his side.
 Kristina Martin
Tina is captain on the highly ranked volleyball team and is on the verge of setting SDSU scoring records.
When it looked like Kevin’s condition had stabilized on Thursday, she decided to go ahead and fly out to Washington with her team to play in the first tournament of the season. But at the layover in Denver, she got a call saying that Kevin had taken a turn for the worse. She headed back on the next available flight home.
That’s when Tina learned that her grandmother in Wisconsin had died.
 
The SDSU volleyball players are a close-knit bunch both on and off the court and it was hard to concentrate on the game without their friend and star player there and knowing the grief she was going through.
When the team returned home from the tournament, the players all went to the hospital together in a show of support for Tina and to say goodbye to Kevin..who was their friend too.Kevin Morsching never regained consciousness and died early last Sunday morning.
 
Monday night was the Jackrabbits home opening game at Frost Arena in Brookings. Few expected Tina to show up much less play..but there she was ready to go.
After a group hug with her teammates, all Tina said was she wanted to dedicate the game and a victory to Kevin and her grandma.
Montana State didn’t have a chance. The Jacks swept the Bobcats 3-0.  Tina added 9 more kills in the victory and toward her pursuit of the school record.
 But even if Kristina Martin doesn’t end up with the most “kills, digs, assists or blocks” in SDSU volleyball history, she has already demonstrated the qualities that make up a true champion in the game of life.

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