Remembering Chariho’s Maddie Potts’ passion ... and that smile

Remembering Chariho’s Maddie Potts’ passion ... and that smile

The Westerly Sun


The last time I saw Maddie Potts was on Sept. 16 at Stonington High.

I was walking into the athletic field in advance of the boys’ championship game of the Piver Cup soccer tournament.

Potts, who collapsed during a game Saturday night and died early Sunday of a brain aneurysm, was walking out with her teammates. In her arms, she held the Piver Cup championship trophy the Chargers had just claimed with a win over Fitch.

Over the years, I had the opportunity to watch her play soccer and lacrosse at Chariho High and interview her. We knew each other as much as we could in those brief encounters.

She saw me that day and acknowledged me. Then came that smile. And it was a smile that always morphed into a grin. Potts was always grinning.

When Chariho assistant girls’ soccer coach Scotty McGuire used his booming voice to praise her from the bench for a task well done on the field, she grinned. And for McGuire it was always first and last name, “Maddie Potts!!!”

The syllables deemed that you use both first and last name. Everyone did.

One of the benefits of this work is the opportunity to be around young people. When I hear adults start with “Young people today ...” and conclude with a litany of complaints, I tell them they have not met the young people I have.

Our country will be in good hands. Our future is bright. Potts was one of the reasons why.

She played with intensity and passion, she was intelligent, articulate and well-spoken. But most of all she was a good teammate. She encouraged others on the field. She supported them when things did not go well. She was always there. She was a person others wanted to be around.

And do not believe for one second that she did not play hard. If you were on the opposing team and were out of line, she would find you before the game ended. You could count on that.

Her accomplishments on the field have been well-documented — All-Division in both lacrosse and soccer and a team captain this fall.

She was lean and athletic. Brittney Godbout, who coached her in both soccer and lacrosse, said she could play any position on the field. She often did.

Sometimes things in life just can’t be explained. So many of us like to believe that everything happens for a reason.

But some of us have come to the realization that those reasons are not always understood and often difficult to accept.

Maddie Potts’ life was one that was well-lived. From that we can all take inspiration as we try to move forward without her.

It will be a struggle. So please lend a hand to the many that will be dealing with this tragedy in the weeks and months to come.

That’s what she would have done.

kkimberlin@thewesterlysun.com


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