WCWS: Sooners trying to help Casey Angle's healing

by Stephanie Kuzydym Published: June 3, 2013
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photo - Casey Angle, sister of Moore tornado victim Sydney Angle performs as bat girl during the NCAA Super Regional softball game as the University of Oklahoma (OU) Sooners defeats Texas A&M 10-2 at Marita Hines Field on Friday, May 24, 2013 in Norman, Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman
Casey Angle, sister of Moore tornado victim Sydney Angle performs as bat girl during the NCAA Super Regional softball game as the University of Oklahoma (OU) Sooners defeats Texas A&M 10-2 at Marita Hines Field on Friday, May 24, 2013 in Norman, Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman

How do you heal when you lose so much?

On Monday, Oklahoma played in Game 1 of the Women's College World Series finals. Exactly two weeks before, softball mattered to no one in the state.

Digging through rubble mattered. Saving lives mattered.

How do you move on?

Since that day, OU softball, the state and much of the nation learned the story of Sydney Angle, a 9-year-old with bright eyes and a beautiful smile who didn't survive in a place her parents thought she would be safe. The May 20 tornado ripped through her elementary school, causing parents to mourn over seven small caskets.

But since that tragic Monday, Oklahoma has adopted the Angle family, especially Casey Angle, the older sister of Sydney. Casey is trying to get good grades because she one day wants to be a softball player for a coach like Oklahoma's Patty Gasso.

Somewhere along the dugout fence at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium, 10-year-old Casey blended among the nation's No. 1-ranked softball team. She was excited to be there as the Sooners' bat girl. She felt like part of the team. She was one of them. They were trying to fulfill the goal of winning a national title.

But the reality remains. It still haunts her and her family. Sydney is gone.

Their father, Dan, walked away from the stadium when Oklahoma played Thursday against Michigan. He felt overwhelmed. He couldn't bring himself to attend Saturday's game against Texas. They made plans weeks ago to bring both girls to the WCWS.

But, Dan's hoping Casey is having some joy in the dugout, finding strength from the Sooners.

“She's having fun,” Dan said. “It's a lot of fun for her. It's an opportunity that, chances are, she's never going to have again. ... And when we're strong, Casey is strong.”

But when her father or mother breaks down crying, Casey cries, too.

The Angles lost their home in the tornado. Every morning, they work through new questions.

What new furniture can we buy? Where should we eat? How will we eat? Where will we live? How will we honor Sydney?

“It's like we went through 20 years of our life without wanting to,” Dan Angle said.


by Stephanie Kuzydym
Reporter
Stephanie Kuzydym learned at a young age that life is a game of inches. That's just one reason why she loves football. Kuzydym joined The Oklahoman in July 2012. Before arriving in the state, Kuzydym was an intern for the sports departments at...
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