In December of 2018 Charlie Crabtree, the beloved team volunteer from Normal West Community High School lost his life in a fatal bus accident, but his memory is staying alive.
Friday was the first official game of the season for the Normal West Girls Varsity Softball team, but for the first time one of their favorite fans, Charlie Crabtree, is not cheering from the sidelines. The girls played in his honor as family and friends gathered to remember his legacy.
He was known as a dedicated cheerleader for high school athletes from the basketball court to the softball diamond.
“You know it’s funny Dad always had a heart for kids, he drove the bus for kids, he loved sports, we could never really explain it, he just had a passion for kids.” said Crabtree’s daughter Nikki Segleiano.
Team members recall his bucket of bubble gum. contagious smile and motivating chant: “Westside Wildcats! Eat em’ up, eat em’ up!”
“Dad used to announce home games in the press box, love him, many times he would announce the names wrong or spell them wrong but people just laughed and loved him anyway, he just, the man was full of joy.” recalled Segleiano
The team wore his name in and on their hearts as they took the field. The family stood on the pitchers mound, the new Charlie Crabtree Press-box was unveiled.
“He would be very touched by all of this, he would be overwhelmed by all of it as well, I don’t think he would have expected any of this, but he would be very humbled and really appreciative.” said Crabtree’s niece Leanne Adcock.
As girls for years to come line up at home plate, they will always remember one thing:
Live Like Charlie.