By DAVE SCHABELL
The Thomas H. Seither Sportscenter opened to events, athletic and social, in the fall of 1986. Since then it has served well as home for Mustangs and Lady Mustangs Basketball and Volleyball games, Baseball, Track, and Cheerleading practices, dances, concerts, school assemblies, and a myriad of social events and fund-raisers.
Not until August of 2004, eighteen years into its existence, was it asked to host a funeral visitation. It was then that Sophomore Grant Janszen returned to his alma-mater after losing his twenty-two month battle with cancer. The SyCenter did itself proud in providing a dignified setting for Grant’s family, friends, and classmates to gather and pay their respects to this valiant young man, the most courageous of Mustangs to ever grace the SyDome hardwood, without ever having played a game on it.
Less than four months later, the community and Brossart High School family would be rocked with the tragic news that Nathan Seiter, our school’s preeminent athlete and most popular Mustang had been taken from us in the prime of his life in an early morning single car accident within sight of his home while returning from work at DHL. It was simply unbelievable that someone so alive, so active, so vibrant, and seemingly so immortal could be killed so suddenly and in such a freakish manner. Nathan returned to the floor which had served as his stage as he set school record after school record, taking the Brossart Basketball program to new heights as our facility once again was transformed to a venue commemorating the life of Brossart High School’s only member of the 10th Region Boys Basketball Hall of Fame. Undertaker Ken Cooper called the Nathan Seiter visitation the largest single day funeral event in the history of Campbell County. Over 3,000 came that day to pay their respects.
Most recently, within a year of Grant Janszen’s visitation and just a few months removed from the Nathan Seiter tragedy, as though it were some cruel joke, the Brossart High School Family would again be dealt another severe blow as again one of our best and brightest former stars, 2003 Graduate Lindsey Sendelbach, holder of eight individual fast-pitch softball records, a former Snowball Queen, and sweetheart of Boys Basketball Assistant Coach and sports icon Curtis Bezold, would lose her life in another fatal automobile accident leaving an incredible void in the lives of those who knew her. For a third time in less than a year, the venue where our fans gather to worship and cheer for their heroes in athletic competition or to socialize at a school function, was asked to stand-down as a sports facility and yet again host a funeral visitation for one of our own.
Lindsey was a second-generation Mustang, and like Nathan was from a prominent Campbell County family. She had followed in the footsteps of her parents Lou (’68) and Wanda (’69), her sisters Shelly and Nicole, and her brother, Mustang 1,000 Point Club Member, Rodney. Again the community turned out in droves and many stood in line for many hours to visit with the family and share their remembrances of yet another of our most popular Mustangs.
Someone in a tribute to Nathan Seiter wrote, “This is as sad as it gets.” This can certainly be said for all three of our former student/athletes, tragically lost to their school, their family and their friends. I’m further reminded of a question posed to Michelangelo while he was painting the Sistine Chapel. “When Will There Be An End???” He answered, “When It’s Finished.” If things such as this truly do come in threes, then we pray that it will be far off into the future before our venerable athletic facility will host another visitation. We have certainly had our share of death and disaster for awhile and would welcome a lengthy respite.
We are not alone in bearing the pain and suffering of the loss of loved ones, nor the only school in our community to know tragedy. Jimmy Geiman, Justin Saccone, and Alysha Gardner among others have been lost to the Campbell County High School Community within recent memory.
Hopefully, we can now get back about the business of having our gym once again being a place where happy memories are made as the hurt and suffering of our recent losses fade into the distant past. We are told that we know not the day nor the hour, and the lesson learned from the events of the past year very clearly spell out that none among us are exempt. We will continue to pray for the repose of the souls of Grant Janszen, Nathan Seiter, and Lindsey Sendelbach as we ask to be spared from further such events in the future.
Thy Will Be Done!!
July 24, 2005