Quick Thought: Sullivan softball All-Star’s death video tribute got to me

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On Sun., Feb. 19, 2011 a young, charismatic, effulgent, and beautiful teenager tragically lost her life in a car accident on I-44 near Stanton, Mo. Tianna Stockley was just 18 years old.

Last night while lying in bed, browsing Facebook, tired and getting ready to log out, I came across a video tribute in Tianna’s memory.  As I began watching and seeing video clips of her acting silly and goofing with friends and then photos of her playing softball for Sullivan High School; it was that very moment I was hit hard with emotions and my heart going out to her family, understanding what they were going through.

However, my brother’s death was not the reason why watching the video and finding out of her death, the cause of being affected by the video.  Instead it was because I had covered Sullivan’s game against New Haven earlier this fall and figured there was a good chance Tianna was in a photo I had taken, and sure enough she was.

Picture on the right I had taken during the game:  Tianna Stockley is on the right, getting ready to bat.

Tianna was an All-Star player who had signed with Southeast Missouri State University to play softball.  She had scintillating and promising career, as she was one of the top prospects within the St. Louis area this past season.

I also began thinking about the two teenage girls that had died this past year in Hermann, witnessing how their deaths had affected fellow students and the entire Hermann community.

I believe there is a perception among most people that teenagers are constantly being killed in a car accident in and around Franklin County.  Don’t get me wrong, one teenager death is one to many, but also regardless of someone’s age is one death to many.

We as a society are quick to single out teenagers and forget to step back and evaluate our driving habits.  How many parents preach to their children about wearing their seatbelt, not to drink and drive, and not to speed, when they themselves do not abide by the same advise they give their children.  About 95 percent of the time when I have seen someone driving reckless they were not a younger person, but instead adults, who most likely have children and preach to them about not doing what they do almost everyday.

I hope that Tianna’s death reminds everyone and I mean everyone how fragile life is and how quickly it can be taken away.  “Practice what we preach.”