Wins and losses mean little compared to life's truly consequential decisions.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Gracie WilliamsLast week, I addressed life's inequities by means of an injury derailing the Banks boys basketball team's run towards a state championship. It seemed unfair and it undoubtedly was based on the limited return they'd gotten on a season's worth of investment of hard work and determination with just that goal in mind. But this past week, I was reminded of what life's true tragedies are, and winning and losing are the furthest things from my mind.

Gracie Williams is 5 years old. For the bulk of her short life, she's been a normal kid, doing normal kid things, oblivious to the harsh realities the world at times presents. But a handful of months ago, that all changed. Gracie — as is presented in our Glencoe softball story this week — was diagnosed with a glioblastoma: a tumor, which in Gracie's case was through and around her brain stem.

Prior to being introduced to Gracie and her mother, I didn't know what a glioblastoma was. I had to look it up. And when I did, I didn't know how to respond. It's not the type of diagnosis anyone wants or really deserves, but to thrust it upon a child of just 5 years seems an even crueler twist of fate.

Cancer, like many of the diseases that afflict people on a daily basis, is indiscriminate. No one is exempt from or beyond reach of being dealt a potentially fatal hand. It can strike anyone, at any time, and we're all somewhat at the mercy of the severity of its blow.

But a 5-year-old?

You can't rationalize that, nor can you reason with the tragedy of such innocence being confronted by that form of evil.

The only upside of such is what tragedies like Gracie's bring to the surface and expose in a population seemingly becoming more selfish by the day.

People do care. That shouldn't surprise me, but in a modern world that seems to orbit negativity in a way that almost invites it, I am in fact pleasantly surprised to see the type of selfless kindness I saw at Glencoe's softball game with Roosevelt last Thursday afternoon.

Both the Tide and the Roughriders enthusiastically played for Gracie. Yes, they wore pink, like many do — but in addition to talking the talk, they're walking the walk as well. They're donating their time and money to her cause, and they seemed to understand the depths of what their contribution, as well as their sentiment, meant to the 5-year-old and her parents who are experiencing a level of grief and uncertainty I can't begin to understand or imagine.

And that's cool.

Gracie likely doesn't understand what's going on. She's 5. And if life were what it should be, she'd have little more to worry about than what flavor of ice cream she'd like for dessert. But that's not the world she or we are living in, and while life has undoubtedly taken a turn for the worse for Gracie and her family, Glencoe, Roosevelt, and the rest of us, if we're so inclined, can hopefully continue to make her imperfect world a little brighter — even in a pretty dark time.

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