Eagles softball’s Freeman fueled by dad’s return to stands

Sports

STATESBORO, Ga. (WSAV) – Mekhia Freeman remembers glancing over her right shoulder in center field and see an empty spot where her biggest fan typically sat. The Georgia Southern softball player may have had her best statistical career in 2020, but something was still missing.

Her dad.

Ever since she picked up the sport at four years old, Marvin Freeman had been to just about every one of his daughters’ softball games. That all changed last year, when the medication he was taking for a 2013 heart transplant caused severe kidney failure.

“I had to take a backseat,” Marvin said. “It was a struggle it was tough and it was tough on [Mekhia] even more.”

He checked into the hospital after experiencing weakness in his body and seizures. Reflecting on his road to recovery, one conversation with his daughter stands out.

“I asked her ‘are you afraid? Are you scared?’,” Marvin explained. “She nodded [yes] and started crying. I told her ‘we are going to beat this.'”

The Freeman family seems to have followed through with that promise. While he is still waiting for a new kidney, Marvin’s health has improved dramatically and, this past weekend, he was able to attend his first softball game at Georgia Southern in nearly two years.

“I’m in the middle of the game and I’m not supposed to wave,” Freeman explained as she tells the story of seeing her dad walk up the bleachers at the game Friday afternoon. “But I’m sitting there waving like ‘hey!'”

When COVID-19 shut down the 2020 NCAA softball season, Mekhia wasn’t sure her dad would ever see her play softball again. Luckily, the NCAA granted her an extra year of eligibility and she dedicated “senior season: round two” to her dad.

“She knows I didn’t get a chance to see this,” Marvin added. “She’s doing it partly for her and partly for me. That makes me happy.”

It appears the father-daughter duo picked up right where they left off. Following this weekend’s games, Marvin had his list of notes and pointers. Mekhia, now more than ever, was eager to hear them. The long wait for her number one fan to return was finally over.

“It was cold a couple of days ago. He could be sitting in the car and sitting at home, but no, he’s ready to be out here,” Mekhia said. “I think that shows the person he is. The person he is is why I’m the person I am and the person my sister is. We feed off my dad.”

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