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A young woman’s story of remaining positive throughout her struggles

Outfielder for Oswego State’s softball team Katie McIntyre on Senior Day in 2018 with stepmom, Gail and father, Bill.  Courtesy: oswegostatesb Instagram

Whenever I see Katie McIntyre, she always has a huge smile on her face and will lend a hand to anyone that needs it. I’ve lived two doors down from the McIntyre’s since I was born and I’ve been friends with Katie since we were both in elementary school. McIntyre is a recent Oswego graduate who played softball throughout her college years.

While she might have a smile on her face, things haven’t always been easy for her. She lost three family members to cancer within a six year period, her grandfather from lymphoma in 2010, her mother from breast cancer in 2012 and her grandmother from breast cancer in 2016. She’s also suffered injuries that cost her playing time starting when she was a junior in high school. Through all the ups and downs life brings, she always stays positive just like her mother during her battle with cancer. I guess staying positive runs in the McIntyre family.

Katie started playing softball when she was in third grade because she was “bored with the ‘girly sports’. I tried playing lacrosse but I wasn’t good at it” McIntyre said. Growing up, McIntyre played soccer, basketball, volleyball and swimming before picking up a bat when she was 10.

She ultimately stuck with volleyball and softball in high school and college. As a senior in high school, she was one of three captains for our high school softball team.

“We voted for our captains but it just so happened to be that the three seniors got voted captain and we were all on varsity since we were sophomores,” McIntyre said when asked about being a captain. “That was helpful because we did have the leadership capability to make sure our team was doing what we were supposed to.”

“There was no one else I would rather have had by my side,” Tess Andrews had to say about her experience as being a team captain with McIntyre. “She made senior year enjoyable and I certainly missed her at college ball.”

Senior Day at West Genesee High School. From left to right: senior Tess Andrews, sophomore Amanda Prell and senior Katie McIntyre. Credit: Amanda Prell

McIntyre’s injuries started with a concussion in junior year of high school. She started college at SUNY Oswego in the fall of 2014 and quickly got injured two months into school. She tore her ACL and meniscus and fractured her tibia on her left leg while playing intramural floor hockey. She had surgery over winter break and then began working with Stephen Papay, a strength and conditioning coach at Oswego in the spring.

During her sophomore year, she tried out for volleyball in the fall but didn’t make the team. “I wasn’t strong enough. My knees weren’t strong enough and my speed and agility wasn’t quite there” McIntyre said. She continued playing softball during fall and spring.

During her junior year, McIntyre played the fall season of softball. Two weeks into the spring season, she tore her other ACL, and MCL meniscus on her right leg. McIntyre went on the spring break trip with her team to Florida.

“It’s always frustrating not being able to play,” McIntyre said. “Being able to travel with the team and watch and go to practice and everything, I think that was the hardest part. Watching and wanting to play, but not being able to.”

Bus ride back to Oswego after spending spring break in Florida from 2016. Courtesy: OswegoStateSB Twitter.

She had surgery after spring break, was on crutches and then worked with Papay again.

For her senior year, she couldn’t play in the fall so she helped coach the volleyball team. McIntyre was back playing softball in the spring but a couple weeks into practice, she slipped and fell. Her knee became inflamed and McIntyre had to get an MRI. That showed she tore her meniscus in her right leg again. She played the rest of the season and then got surgery over the summer.

“She always had a positive attitude. She truly enjoyed softball and obviously used that as a coping mechanism because you could never tell if she was having a bad day,” Oswego State’s softball head coach Abby Martin said. “Her injuries definitely held her back from reaching her full potential but she made sure her team mates could reach theirs by supporting them and being a really great teammate.”

Every year for spring break, the team goes to Florida. McIntyre’s mom, Mary, passed away after a seven year battle with cancer on St. Patricks’s Day in 2012. Since the team is usually in Florida on that day, they take that day to honor Mary and become Team Mary Mac during whatever doubleheader they play.

“My junior year, we made bows for my mom and then senior year, I got wristbands made that said “Team Mary Mac” on them,” McIntyre said with a smile on her face. “That was really helpful for me. It’s always a hard day and so it’s always nice to know that the team is there.”

Team Mary Mac on the five year anniversary of Mary McIntyre’s passing away from breast cancer. Courtesy: oswegostatesb Instagram

Team Mary Mac bow from Katie’s junior year.

“Between losing her mother at a very young age and injuries that could’ve torn anyone else down, she never let her attitude and heart change,” former teammate Amanda Prell added. “She was always kind, positive, respectful and very competitive.”

When I asked McIntyre what she would tell her former teammates now, she had three words.

“Always be positive.”

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