Scoggins: As football begins, a time to honor and remember at Minneapolis South

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 28, 2014 - 11:48 AM

For Minneapolis South, the football opener helped with the healing following the death of Sha-kym Adams.

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Lenny Sedlock paced a hallway inside Minneapolis South, struggling to contain his emotions. His football team sat on the floor, listening solemnly to every word.

One player lowered his head and closed his eyes. Another stared at the ceiling, tears welling in his eyes.

Twenty minutes until their season opener, their minds flashed to three weeks ago and the pain they’ve endured since tragedy hit their program. Sedlock’s voice grew loud as he recalled how a group of them had jumped courageously into a lake to try and save one of their teammates.

“I’m so proud of you guys,” he said. “I love being your coach.”

The start of a new season Wednesday night represented another step in the healing process for a family and a football team coping with the death of 15-year-old Sha-kym Adams, who drowned in Lake Nokomis in early August.

Sha-kym was a sophomore wide receiver. He worked hard this summer so he could make varsity and earn a letter. Teammates loved his determination.

“He was like a brother to us,” senior quarterback Anthony Hockett said.

South honored Sha-kym’s family before their home game against Eden Prairie. The school presented his parents, Kimberly Adams and Sharrod Rowe, with his No. 17 jersey and a letter jacket.

Sedlock and his captains hugged Sha-kym’s family members. Eden Prairie’s cheerleaders presented them roses.

“Our kids need this,” Sedlock said.

Sha-kym had joined a group of players who decided to go for a swim after a summer workout. At some point, Sha-kym began to struggle in the water and drowned.

Sadness and guilt consumed teammates, especially those who were with him. Hockett was the first person to reach Sha-kym in the water, but he was unable to rescue him.

Hockett blamed himself for not being able to help his friend. But then he listened to Sha-kym’s mother speak at a vigil later that night and felt comforted.

Despite her unimaginable grief, Kimberly Adams consoled her son’s teammates. She told them this was an accident and that no one was to blame. Kimberly said she was thankful that her son was with his teammates, his football brothers, doing something that he loved.

Her strength uplifted everyone.

“There were a lot of kids that tried to help him,” Kimberly said on the field Wednesday. “Even one kid that didn’t know how to swim at all. That takes guts.”

Sports often become a therapeutic diversion from personal hardship, and so it is for these young men. They find comfort in each other’s company. They go to dinner together and gather for barbecues. They hang out, play video games, anything just to be together.

“We feel like a family,” junior defensive end Elerson Smith said. “We were always close but never this close.”

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  • Sha-kym Adam's parents Sharrod Rowe and Kimberly Adams held up a pictu...

  • Sha-kym Adams’ father, Sharrod Rowe, hugged Minneapolis South coach Lenny Sedlock before Wednesday’s opener. Sha-kym, a sophomore receiver, drowned in early August.

  • An Eden Prairie cheerleader paid tribute to Sha-Kym Adams by displaying his number.

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