Dec. 16, 2016.
That was the day I learned the late Sister Maria Pares was in home hospice care. It also was the last time I ever had the privilege of speaking with the Hall of Fame basketball coach, who lost her 16-plus year battle with cancer last Friday.
I shared the news with a colleague, and we decided to give her a call to see if she’s up to talking. Pares pounced on that opportunity much in the way she expected her players to dive on the floor for a loose basketball.
The thing I remember most from the 20-minute conversation – Pares voicing her displeasure regarding something she read that week in this newspaper.
While I was thankful I didn’t write the piece that prompted the rant, I did chuckle, thinking to myself that being that ticked off over a story that did not tackle any life or death issues had to be a positive sign regarding her health.
Sadly, it wasn’t.
At least Pares provided one more reminder as to what helped her become a larger-than-life figure on the Western New York sports scene: Her fighting spirit.