STRANG COLUMN: Coming together for two special young ladies

Published 12:25 pm Friday, May 17, 2024

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When tragedy strikes there is little comfort in words. It’s hard to find the words for this story in all honesty. Every word I type feels either inadequate or trite. When I heard the news about five Troup students being involved in a horrible accident on Thursday my heart sank. When I saw the names, I had to put my phone away and stop myself from throwing up. 

When I got the notification about Hadilee Arnold and Mary Joy Moosman being in critical condition, tears flowed. 

These two ladies are a beacon of positivity and hope. If you were to pull up to a Troup athletic event over the last several years, odds are you saw one of these two girls playing or in the stands. I had the distinct pleasure of covering Moosman during her time on the soccer field and cheerleading and Arnold with her precious softball. You would be hard-pressed to find a time when neither was smiling. Moosman missing a chance to score on the soccer field? She’d smile and laugh it off with her friends. When Arnold struck out, you could see her trying to hide her smile from coaches Haley Dodgins and Ryan Simpson.

Athletes like Arnold and Moosman are one of the main reasons that this sports reporter’s job is not only bearable but also fun. Their relentless enthusiasm for their respective sports was matched only by the love from their teammates.

These two girls are defined by way more than just athletics. Both were set to walk across the stage next week as honor graduates. Moosman was named to the GCCA team of the year for her ability as a cheerleader and an academic.

On Thursday, it felt like the world stopped in Troup County as we collectively cried out. These girls still have the brightest futures ahead of them, I believe it.

This is a time that we can all put aside our differences and wrap our arms in loving embrace not just around the Arnold and Moosman families, but their friends and peers, and all those at Troup High and beyond that have been positively impacted by these young ladies. I know I have. I will never forget walking up to a Troup High softball game this past fall, camera loosely hanging off my shoulder and a collective excitement burst from inside the dugout as I walked up to take my spot for some photos. The Troup softball team always made me feel welcome, and Arnold was one of the chief reasons why. She, like her fellow softball seniors, always wanted a photo in some form of fashion. Posing, smiling, living life as a young person should.

Right now, we collectively come together in a moment of sadness, but I believe and I know that we will come together as a community in joy and celebration when these sweet, kind young ladies recover.