Glory Collides With Grief For One Soccer Champ
It was the most exciting game of one high school student’s life. Leo Klink scored the game tying goal. Then he went on to score another goal, followed by a penalty kick, bringing home Hawaii’s state championship title.
Tears of joy rolled down the face of the 17-year-old. It was the single greatest moment of his life.
Leo said, “It was a great feeling to represent our school this way.”
However, in a matter of minutes, those tears turned to sobs. Leo was consumed by a crushing grief. It turned out that during the game Leo’s mother, 52-year-old Hiroyo Klink, suffered a stroke in the stands. But she insisted that no one tell her son.
Coach Michael Ching said, “She said, ‘Do not tell Leo. Absolutely do not tell Leo.' It was a tough call. If you knew Hiroyo, you knew how much she loved Leo. Even in her condition she is thinking the best for her boy.”
It was the ultimate sacrifice and because of her selfless act, Leo went on to win game. It was only after the game was over that he learned the terrible news.
Leo said, “It was the worst news of my life.”
Ching said, “He was crying because of joy at the time. He had tears in his eyes. Then utter heartbreak.”
At the hospital, Leo’s proud mom learned her son had won the big game.
Leo said, "That was the last thing she was told and she had a last smile on her face."
At her funeral, hundreds of people turned out to pay respects, including her son's teammates, the newly crowned state champs.
Leo's father spoke and he used the occasion to ask mourners to recognize the signs of stroke.
He said, “Dial 911 cause every moment is precious.”
Leo misses his mother terribly but will always be grateful for her final act of love that let him win the state championship.
Leo said, “I think what she did was the right decision. It was her last memory and it was a great memory.”