“Mick went through things much harder,” senior Jack Murray said. “So I think that in my head, it has given me more of an ability to push through and get off of myself and realize that I have more left than I realize — because he gave a lot more than he had ever had to give up.”
“That’s mainly how it’s affected my tennis, just to push through and (persevere) when the odds are against you. He’s always on my mind.”
Over a year and a half ago, the Macholl family was introduced to the team through Team IMPACT, and the team officially signed him in early November. One month later, 5-year-old Mick lost his 18-month battle to neuroblastoma.
“Mick was just a super, super kid, super strong, such a fighter,” senior Ronnie Schneider said. “Even until his last moments, when I was getting text messages from his mom in his last few days and his last few hours on Earth, he was such a fighter.”
During one of the team’s visits to the hospital, Mick was getting his tubes cleaned out, and all Murray could recall was the child’s crying. No matter how bad the pain was, Mick wouldn’t stop the tube cleaning until it was finished.
“When we were there, you would never have any idea the battles that he was going through,” Schneider said. “His battles were more than anything I could ever imagine ... I would never wish it upon anybody.”
Although Mick is gone, the bond between the family and the team remains strong. On Saturday, Murray and Schneider visited Mick’s parents and siblings. Murray said it was as if they were visiting aunts, uncles and cousins. After an emotional greeting, the two seniors spent hours playing games and fooling around with Mick’s brothers, Tyce and Trey, and the family’s pet guinea pigs.
“On the inside, I’m sure they’re still grieving and still hurting,” Schneider said. “But they’re doing such an amazing job of giving the appearance that they’re trying to move on.”