By Jeremy McDonald
SHERIDAN, Ore.– “Oh Keegan as a person. Man, I can talk about this all day,” smiles James Hass. “He was such a good guy. He really was.”
“He was down to Earth,” adds Natalie Nielsen. “He took your needs before he took his.”
It was one of those happy unfortunate moments for the Spartan community Monday evening. Happy that they get to remember one of their own in Keegan Smith. Unfortunate that it was in this situation. Without him there.
Smith passed away January 25, 2021 due to sucidie. Breaking the hearts of those who knew the teenager that personally. Smith would have been a senior this year at Sheridan and was part of the football and basketball teams.
Signs around the Spartan gym showed his name. The numbers 12 and 3 were on signs, custom shirts worn by the athlete’s too showed his name and those two numbers. The White Shirt team had Keegan on the front, 3 on the back. The Black Shirt team, Smith on the front and 12 on the back.
All in part of the first of hopefully many of the Co-Ed ‘Keegan Smith Memorial Game’ with all proceeds of the game going to the Keegan Smith Memorial Scholarship Fund.
It all started when Sheridan Girls Head Coach Jeremy Brown had the idea following the end of the season a few days ago. The Spartan coach has been close with the Smith family.
“It was after our last game and I was like…I knew all of the seniors and all the kids that would’ve been in Keegan’s class, it was tough to go the way both teams had to close out the season. I was driving home and I was like, ‘you know what, I’m going to go check with the Smith family. I really want to put on this’,” Brown starts. “First it was let the Varsity kids play for fun with no fans and see what happends.
“Then I was like, ‘why not invite family’ and ‘why not make this an annual thing’. So I got together with Coach (Steven Grauer) and said, “Can we get a concession stand. You email some people and I email some people’. I talked to the superintendent and all the kids and it just kind of materialized into what turned out to be a blessing to see all the people here to represent the Smith family.”
A heartfelt thing to hopefully bring awareness to what had happened to Keegan and kids like him going through hard times points Brown.
The game itself was fun. Smith’s mom did the opening tip-off as the Black Shirt squad jumped out to a 8-2 lead before the White Shirt team took a 21-10 lead into the second quarter. But the black shirt squad rallied and eventually the game went into overtime with the white shirt squad winning 77-74 to close out the festivities Monday night at Sheridan High School.
All to remember one of their own. A friend, a student, a teammate and a family member to all.
“The biggest heart. Hardest working student-athletes. Always wanting to learn more,” Brown said, “Before he passed, he was ‘Coach Brown, can you get me into the weight room? Can we help? Can we do this? Can we do that? He just had a thrist and a desire to be better than anything that he was told he could be. Never quit attitude and fiercely loyal to his friends and his teammates.
“All around great kid and dearly missed by myself and all of these kids.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald
2 Comments Add yours
I am the yearbook advisor for Sheridan HS and also the art teacher who made the shirts for the Keegan game. Could you please send me the pics you took this year at our sports events? It would mean the world to us.
Thanks!! Odessa Hansen