Mike Whitmarsh Memorial Tribute 2-19-09

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Information about Mike Whitmarsh Memorial Tribute 2-19-09

Published on February 20, 2009

Author: HoHoHane

Source: authorstream.com

In Loving MemoryMike WhitmarshMay 18, 1962 – February 16, 2009 : In Loving MemoryMike WhitmarshMay 18, 1962 – February 16, 2009 Mike Whitmarsh : Mike Whitmarsh When I heard first heard the news of Mike’s sudden and untimely death I was shocked and devastated – truly heart-broken. I am still in disbelief he is no longer with us. It’s difficult for me to even look at these photos or imagine back to those times as one of Mike’s biggest fans who was blessed enough to have had the chance to get to known him. I realize now that Mike allowed that – by being sweet and gracious and appreciative. He took the time to acknowledge that I adored and supported him. Mike always had time, and a smile, for me. That in and of itself is an amazing gift. Mike was truly an incredible athlete and person. Mike Whitmarsh : Mike Whitmarsh In addition to being one of the nicest guys I ever met, Mike was one of the most classy, decent and down-to-earth guys on the AVP circuit. In all of the tournaments, matches and VIP events I attended, over the course of more than 10 years, (spanning from coast to coast, in 5 states) I never once saw Mike act inappropriately – not once, not even for a nanosecond. Whether on the court or off, he was a guy you could always look up to – and at 6’7” I mean both figuratively and literally. As with any high-profile, incredibly talented, and extremely good looking athlete – it would have been very easy for him to abuse that status. But not Mike. Mike was the complete opposite. He was soft spoken, warm hearted and factiously devoted to his job…Beach Volleyball. Mike Whitmarsh : Mike Whitmarsh I first discovered the sport of beach volleyball in the late 80’s and quickly became an avid AVP fan. I was living on the east coast at the time and could only attend the few yearly events which were held in PA and NJ, but boy did I get hooked fast. Few people know that Sinjin Smith was actually my first real AVP hero, but when Mike Whitmarsh came up in the landscape that quickly changed. I was an instant “Whitty” fan, utterly devoted and completely loyal for the next 9+ years. Mike Whitmarsh : Mike Whitmarsh Having moved to Los Angeles for business in 1993, I suddenly had access to the ‘holy mecca’ of beach volleyball unlike anything I could have ever hoped for. And boy did I capitalize on it. My love for the sport, both as a weekend warrior and an AVP fan, blossomed into full fledged addiction and I went to every single AVP event I could get to – up and down the southern west coast from San Diego to Santa Barbara…from Arizona to Las Vegas, Nevada (KOB Baby!). Mike Whitmarsh : Mike Whitmarsh Anyone who knew me knew I loved the sport, loved the AVP and most of all I loved Mike Whitmarsh. He was my Michael Jordan, my Joe Montana, my Ty Cobb – all rolled into one. If there was ever any doubt of this – all one had to do was to look for me at an AVP event where Mike was playing. I would cheer the loudest, scream the craziest, and when he lost – moan the heaviest. No one ever knew I wasn’t there or who I was rooting for. I was literally a Mike Whitmarsh ‘uber-fan’. Mike Whitmarsh : Mike Whitmarsh As the years passed and I became more involved with the sport I had the fortunate opportunity to become more than just your average (albeit somewhat ‘passionate’) fan – I was able to become a reporter for the sport; first for a website called Beachmania, then later for my own site – GoodCallVolleyball. Since volleyball did not garner the same attention the major sports like football and baseball received – it was often difficult for fans to get scores, results, interviews, details or anything of real substance in a timely manner. The internet was just beginning to evolve so the websites became a natural outlet for AVP fans across the nation. Mike Whitmarsh : Mike Whitmarsh Over the years, I also had many photos taken of him and I – some of which I later asked him to autograph for me. My favorite by far was when he and Mike Dodd had just returned from winning the first ever silver medal in Olympic Beach Volleyball. They had brought the medals with them to a tourney in the South Bay and both players were available after the match for autographs and pictures. I had a picture taken of me sitting on Mike’s lap with his silver medal around his neck which I later had enlarged and then asked Mike to sign for me. It is one of my most treasured possessions and hangs, framed, on the wall in my office, to this very day. Mike Whitmarsh : Mike Whitmarsh During this time of being both a reporter and as an uber-fan, I was lucky enough to get to know Mike personally – whether on the beach, at an event, through interviews or off-the-court conversations. I also got to know his family – specifically, his then girlfriend (now wife) Cindy and his mom. Often times they would invite me to sit with them to watch Mike play. Both women couldn’t have been nicer or more welcoming to me. I was honored to be included and thrilled that he was to marry such a beautiful and sweet woman as Cindy. Mike Whitmarsh : Mike Whitmarsh Eventually though, my life got complicated and I had to resign my website and leave California. It’s been years since I have seen Mike or his family. But I have often thought over those years how lucky I was. How few people ever get to actually meet their athletic hero?? Let alone get to know them or their families? It remains in my heart one of my most fondest and fortuitous times of my life. I thank Mike and the entire Whitmarsh clan for that, as well as Mike Dodd, Beachmania and every other player, AVP staff member, fan or reporter that contributed to that most special time of my life. An extra special thank you to E for responding to an email I sent him yesterday regarding Mike’s passing. Mike Whitmarsh : Mike Whitmarsh I would also like to especially thank my dear friend Susan Teitle Thomas. I first met Sue in 1993 at an AVP event – where we became fast friends. She and I went to numerous AVP events together and, at one point, I even had custom hats made for us – hers for “Fonoi”, mine for “Whitty”. It is through her kindness, understanding and support in my grief over Mike’s untimely death that I decided to create this Memorial Tribute. Mike Whitmarsh : Mike Whitmarsh My most heart-felt wishes go out to all of his friends and family – especially Cindy and their two young daughters. Many people have told me that the good ones always go young and in Mike’s case that couldn’t be more accurate. Mike Whitmarsh : Mike Whitmarsh Thank you Mike for everything – I couldn’t have had a finer sports hero. You will be sorely missed. I wish you nothing but peace and happiness…for then, for now, for always… With much love and gratitude, Patti Cerami

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