FURY:A Rio Games Romance(2)

By: Alison Ryan

Chuck’s knee felt good, his young bride was glowing, and life couldn’t be better.

But just like that, things fell apart again.

On a road trip to Seattle, after a game in which Chuck went 2-4 with a single, a triple, and two runs scored, the manager summoned his young star to his room to inform him that he was being sent home to spend a few days with his wife, who’d miscarried that evening.

Losing the baby was hard on the young couple, and Chuck struggled at the plate once he returned to the lineup. After going 0-3 in the first game of a home doubleheader against the Twins, he came to the plate in the second inning of the nightcap. He drove a ball up the middle and took off for first base. His sprint beat the throw to first by an eyelash, but as he jogged back to the bag, pain shot through his surgically repaired knee. He was replaced by a pinch runner, and as he limped to the dugout, though he didn’t know it at the time, he was walking off a major league field as a player for the last time.

Another surgery followed, more physical therapy, then a third operation on the same knee, and finally a realization that it was never going to heal quite right. The Tigers reassigned him to the minors and he spent a season riding busses, staying in cheap motels, and struggling with a knee that never felt quite right.

Tracy graduated Wright State with a degree in secondary education, and with Chuck’s athletic career appearing to be finished, she encouraged him to complete his degree and join her in the teaching profession. He’d have a foot in the door toward coaching, and he was certainly qualified to mold young athletes in a number of sports.

Teaching positions became available at their alma mater, Montgomery High School, first for Tracy, then Chuck, and when the ex-major leaguer applied for the open baseball coaching position, it was a no-brainer.

The Lowerys struggled to conceive a second time, but when news finally came that Tracy was pregnant again, Chuck couldn’t have been more thrilled. The idea of coaching his son, helping him achieve the big league dream that ended so painfully for his old man, gave Chuck’s life the equivalent of a second wind. His enthusiasm for coaching, teaching, and his marriage, exploded.

As Tracy began to show, Chuck prayed fervently each night – a prayer of thanksgiving and of hope. Thanks for giving that baby inside his wife another day. That tiny heartbeat getting stronger. And hope for another day. Just one more day. Make it through tomorrow and worry about the next day when his head hit the pillow that night. He thanked God for all he’d achieved, all with which he’d been blessed, and offered it all up if his baby would be allowed to live just one more day. Another miscarriage would be too much.

When the news came that the baby wasn’t going to be Charles Lowery Junior, it hit Chuck hard. He’d never stopped to consider that he might have a daughter, rather than a son. He was one of three brothers and Tracy’s three siblings were all boys.

What did he know about raising a little girl?

Any trepidation, disappointment, or concern vanished, however, the first time he held his daughter in his arms and stared into her bright blue eyes. She was a big baby, nearly ten pounds, not an ounce of which was hair. She was as bald as an egg. She was the most beautiful thing Chuck Lowery had ever seen. He wept as he held her, and both sets of grandparents had to wait a good, long while before they got a turn with the new arrival.

The delivery was tough on Tracy, and she spent a week in the hospital after hemorrhaging and enduring an emergency C-section. During her convalescence, the new parents agreed not to tempt fate by trying for more children. They’d guard their blessing jealously and raise her the best way they knew how.

Logan Grace Lowery, named for Chuck’s mother’s maiden name (Logan) and Tracy’s mother’s first name (Grace) would never lack for love.

But Denny Jamieson didn’t know most of this. Chuck had to somehow really convince him on this one.

“The reason I’m so pumped up for this, to start coaching softball, is that it’s going to be an Olympic sport! Can you believe that? My baby, in the Olympics? Hearing that anthem playing and watching her wearing a medal in, what would it be, 2012 or 2016? Hell yes. There can’t be anything better than that.” Chuck sold the dream to his athletic director with his customary exuberance.

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