Sabino: December 10-14
ABOUT CHRIS MAIER
Dale Starling. Andy Morales Photo.
There are special moments in every child’s life. They are the moments that parents come to cherish and share with family and friends as the years go by. For Chris Maier, one of those moments came when he scored off of a corner kick in the 2005 4A state championship game to give Sabino a 1-0 victory.
It was the school’s second soccer title and it came after a series of odd occurrences that led to his magical moment. First, Maier had transferred from Tucson to Sabino and had reportedly given up the sport before his championship season.
Second, the championship match against Cactus was delayed three days due to bad field conditions. Then, Maier left his white jersey at home – preferring his purple uniform – causing Cactus to change uniforms. He would have sat the bench had the referees not agreed with the uniform change.
Finally, according to the Cactus coaches, it was the only score off of a corner kick given up by the team that year. Cactus coach Garrison Harmann told the Citizen in 2006, “For some reason, that was Chris’ moment and we weren’t supposed to win that game.”
Unfortunately, the Maier family never had the chance to celebrate that moment with their son as the years went by. Chris caught Meningococcal Meningitis two weeks later and the 17-year-old passed away less than 24 hours after displaying the first systems of the disease.
His death caused several players from Cactus to reexamine the importance of losing what amounted to a “game” and gave his parents a special mission to educate other parents of this widely unknown disease that costs thousands of lives each year.
“A booster for the disease is required for adolescents entering middle school but we now know that the vaccine is only good for about five years,” explained his mom Leslie. “Parents need to know that their kids need another vaccine before heading off to college.”
Unfortunately, universities only advise parents of the importance of getting the booster and have yet to make it a requirement. The AIA requires athletes to pass a test on concussions but has yet to rule on educating them on this disease.
According to the World Health Organization, “Close and prolonged contact – such as kissing, sneezing or coughing on someone, or living in close quarters (such as a dormitory, sharing eating or drinking utensils) with an infected person – facilitates the spread of the disease.
“The most common symptoms are a stiff neck, high fever, sensitivity to light, confusion, headaches and vomiting. Even when the disease is diagnosed early and adequate treatment is started, 5% to 10% of patients die, typically within 24 to 48 hours after the onset of symptoms. Bacterial meningitis may result in brain damage, hearing loss or a learning disability in 10% to 20% of survivors.”
Chris has become somewhat of a poster child for preventing the disease. According to his mom, a young cousin saw a poster of Chris in his doctor’s office and wondered why it was there. His doctor was using Chris’ story to educate parents on the important of preventing the disease.
And, since 2005, Sabino changed the focus and name of their winter tournament to raise awareness and funds to educate parents and to help combat the disease.
THE SPIRIT OF MAIER
Dale Starling is a young man in age only. The Sahuaro sophomore is only 15-years-old yet he was forced to sit out of the game he loves for a couple of months, not because of grades or a broken leg…If only that were the case. No, Starling had to sit due to Testicular Cancer.
The Maier family is all about awareness and prevention and it was because of Starling’s maturity and willingness step forward and tell someone that something was wrong with his body is why he is still with us today. It is why his mother Juanita still has her boy.
Starling noticed a growth and came forward and told his mother. When it came time to visit the doctor, an emergency surgery was performed to try to contain the cancer. Then, sadly, a second surgery had to be performed to take the rest out.
“I’m glad I found it kind of early,” explained Starling. “It was depressing sitting out all this time and I am still getting chemo treatments.”
Testicular Cancer is the most common form of cancer for men between the ages of 15-34 and about 400 men will die from it each year. It is obviously a very embarrassing development for young men and most of the difficulties come from those who fear the stigma involved with the obvious treatment involved.
But not Starling.
“He is an inspiration,” declared his high school coach Christopher Serafini. “He is an inspiration for the whole team with his courage and strength. Part of our discussion with the team is to step forward and let people know something is wrong.
Purple is the color designated for Testicular Cancer and Sahuaro is waiting for permission from the AIA to wear purple bands.
Starling wore a beanie on his head on Saturday due to hair loss from his chemotherapy but he knows he has the support from his teammates from club (TSA 98 Red) and high school.
“It was the hardest on my mother,” added Starling. “But everyone knows now and my teammates have been there for me.”
Starling scored what many people would consider a meaningless goal in a 4-2 loss to Rincon on Wednesday. But, for all the mother’s in the stands, it may have been the most important goal of the week.
Tucson High 2, Rincon/UHS 0
Tucson High is now 12-0-1 and making a statement this season. Rincon (9-4-1) has battled the Badgers twice in tournaments this season with Tucson High coming out on top both times.
Julian Gaona scored a hat trick to help defeat Rincon 3-2 in the final of the Brandon Bean Tourney in early December and then Giovanni Ahumada and Ronaldo Fierro provided the offense to capture the 11th Annual Chris Maier Invite on Saturday at Sabino.
Tristen Mills fed Ahumada in the 34th minute and then Fierro scored on a PK in the 57th to put the game away.
Under a modified clock, Ahumada scored with one minute left before the half. Both Anthony Siaha (4 saves) and Devin Henderson (5 saves) kept things close in the first half.
Rincon was whistled for an infraction in the box in the 57th minute and Fierro scored on his first attempt but it was disallowed due to encroachment by one of his teammates. Henderson blocked the next attempt but a penalty was called on the rebound.
Fierro put his third try though for the score. Siaha would finish with 7 saves and Henderson had eight. Senior midfielder Gabriel Zepp was named the tourney MVP.
Rincon hosts Cholla on Tuesday and Tucson travels to Douglas on Monday.
Tuesday, December 10
Salpointe 2, Cienega 0
Palo Verde 6, Buena 0
Amphi 6, Cholla 0
CDO 4, Sabino 1
Flowing Wells 2, Sahuaro 1
Tucson 4, Sunnyside 1
Wednesday, December 11
Rincon 4, Sahuaro 2
Nogales 3, Cienega 1
Sunnyside 3, Buena 0
Nogales 1, Desert View 0
Amphi 1, CDO 0
Flowing Wells 2, Douglas 1
Thursday, December 12
Palo Verde 7, Sunnyside 0
Tucson 4, Buena 0
Salpointe 2, Nogales 1
Sabino 6, Cholla 0
Cienega 2, Desert View 1
Rincon 5, Flowing Wells 2
Friday, December 13
Douglas 1, Rincon 1
CDO 7, Cholla 0
Sahuaro 2, Douglas 0
Sabino 2, Amphi 2
Desert View 3, Salpointe 1
Tucson 2, Palo Verde 1
Saturday, December 14
Nogales 2, Sabino 1
Tucson 2, Amphi 0
Cienega 2, Cholla 0
Rincon 2, Desert View 1
Palo Verde v Flowing Wells
Buena v Sahuaro
Tucson 2, Rincon 0