Missing mom: Boessen going to Final 4 without her No. 1 fan

Kim and Brooke Boessen celebrate a district championship. (Brooke Boessen)

WARDSVILLE --- When Kim Boessen was in the building, you knew it.

"When I was in the field," said Kim's oldest daughter Brooke Boessen, a Blair Oaks senior, "I could hear her all the way out in center field. On a pop fly, she'd be trying to tell me which way to go and how to catch it.

"She was a very, very loud person and she was really outgoing, she could talk to anyone. She could talk to a brick wall."

Brooke and the Lady Falcons will be in Springfield for the Class 2 Final Four this weekend. But No. 1 fan Kim won't be there with them.

"My excitement level to go to the Final Four this year was not like everyone else's," Brooke said. "I was happy, but it's hard ... I'm missing one of the biggest parts of it."

Kim died last November after a four-year battle with cancer. She was only 42.

"She was a fighter in every sense of the word," Lady Falcons coach Sharon Buschjost said. "She did not give up easy on anything, even when she was faced with the end of her life."

In this year of firsts for Brooke and the Boessen family ---as in the first Thanksgiving, the first Christmas without Kim --- this is the first softball season without mom, who was a distinguished softball player during her days with the Jefferson City Lady Jays.

The Lady Falcons' batting helmets have a small sticker on them that simply reads: KB

"As a team, we definitely wanted to let Brooke and Grace (Boessen, a freshman on the softball team) know that Kim would be with us as we played this season," Buschjost said. "Softball was a passion for her when she played it, and it became even more of a passion watching her kids play softball."

Buschjost's list of duties expanded far beyond coaching this past year.

"Brooke is a very matter-of-fact girl, she's very tough, But I don't care how tough you are, when you lose your mom at an early age ...," said Buschjost, her voice trailing off.

"There were a couple times during this season that Brooke had tears in her eyes," Buschjost continued. "And I said, 'Brooke, you're missing your mom right now, aren't you.' And she said, 'Yeah, it's just so hard, coach.'

"Being a coach for her wasn't the most important thing at that time, but rather just being a person who cared about her and wanted the best for her."

Kim taught her girls how to play the game, including the youngest daughter Belle, a fifth-grader. But Brooke --- who's called a "special" player by Buschjost --- learned a lot more from her mom than just how to throw and catch and hit a softball.

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