The words do not exist to describe how profoundly sad we are. Elisabeth learned of Natalie's death last night. We have been crying ever since. Since those amazing experiences with our beloved Pistols Purple team, we have always felt as if Natalie was one of our own. She was the soul and the spark of that team. Though Elisabeth and Natalie went off to new adventures, we often wondered aloud about Natalie and what she was up to. She never knew what an inspiration she was to us. We wanted to share an excerpt from an essay Elisabeth wrote about your precious little girl.
“What is character? Character is my friend Natalie Baine. Though I would not understand until years later, Natalie, age ten, defined character for me in the most profound way. She had just won the most important basketball game of our lives, a game that no one believed we could win, except us. We wanted to win that game more than anything, ever. Down by one point with four seconds left and without the ball, Natalie made an impossible steal, raced four girls the length of the court, and made a buzzer beating shot. Teammates, coaches and parents hoisted her on our shoulders in absolute delirious joy. She was our hero, a rock star! But she wasn't celebrating. She was frantically searching the crowd. And all I could hear her saying was ‘it was Elisabeth, it was Elisabeth, she tipped me the ball, where's Elisabeth?!' Not one single person in that entire gym could know that but her, and no one ever had to know. But for Natalie, it wasn't all about Natalie; it was about the team. That in all its subtlety is character in its purest form, inscribed on my soul forever by my ten year old friend Natalie Baine.”
She made us all so proud that day and we count that memory and the many others with her among our most precious. Those memories will make us smile for the rest of our lives. She will always be the smiling, mischievous, never-quit little girl in the purple knee pads. Please take comfort in knowing that she touched so many in her short life. You are in our thoughts and prayers.
Steve, Lisa, Elisabeth & Wilson