In Loving Memory of Nicole
Welcome to the dedication of your memorial to Nicole Lee. This site is part of our effort to keep Nicki in our hearts and to continue the legacy she has placed in front of us – to live our lives as an extension of her life. If I was to do this Nicki’s way, I would need a powerpoint presentation or flip chart, but we’re gonna go without visual aids.
I know Nicki was smiling on us as we completed the vision she had for this piece of the Magruder Softball Complex, and we feel sure she would have liked working here to improve her pitching. I also know she reveled in how far we stretched our comfort zone during this project – as none of us involved in this effort have ever done something like this.
This bullpen was what Nicki told me we needed when I opened up the design of our complex to my players when I took the job here at Magruder. Our goal in this project was to have a place that was functional for our players, and the many other teams that use this facility over the year. We also wanted to have a place that we could use to feel closer to Nicki and to be able to feel a gentle breeze and listen to the heartbeat of nature and the pulse of our own heart.
There are some key items in the design of this area. The plaque is made from the pitching rubber Nicki used during her Junior & Senior year. In the turf, we have a piece of Turf from Virginia Tech, a Piece of turf from her home, and a piece of turf from her final resting place. We have also placed a piece of turf from here at her final resting place. Within the dirt is dirt that was added that I had saved from several key events in my life, and in the lives of players I have worked with over the years. There is dirt from the Olympic softball field from the Greek Olympics, dirt from the 2002 State tournament – the last time Magruder was in the State tournament, Sand from my Spring trip to Hawaii and dirt from Virginia Tech and Nicki’s home. Players have also added dirt that has been part of their history and key moments in their lives.
Father Lee, Thank you for being here. Nicki’s faith and passion were developed at her home and at Saint Francis, and it is so fitting that you are here to help us dedicate this site in Nicki’s honor.
The effort to build this memorial has brought together so many groups, in the same way Nicki was able to bring people together. Thank you to all who helped and donated to make this site possible. The Lee family worked side by side with us in every stage of this project, and their touch is evident in the love that this memorial embraces us with. Everyone who had a hand in making this special place what it is… Thank You!
For all who Love Nicki – we hope this memorial will provide a place where you can hear her laughter and feel her love. It belongs to all of us who miss her, and to all who work to live their lives in her honor, by being a little better than you thought you could be.
In closing, please know we will continue to find ways to make this memorial teach others the lessons we all learned from Nicki, and to help those who happen to come upon this site to know why we Love and Miss Nicki every day.
Dugout will be dedicated to late graduate Nicole Lee
by Jennifer Beekman | Staff Writer
Second-year Magruder softball coach Ed Hendrickson’s hair looks fine now. But it was a botched up mess a few weeks ago. That’s what happens when you put 17 teen-aged girls in charge of your hair cut; especially if their primary goal is to make you look as stupid as possible.
On April 19 Hendrickson gave his charges full control over his hair stylings as part of a fundraising deal he’d struck with them. The Magruder softball team’s season may have ended in Thursday’s 10-0 loss to Richard Montgomery. Though disappointed, the Colonels can now turn their full attention to another softball endeavor: the bullpen and bench area they’ve been working to build all season in memory of former two-year starting pitcher Nicole Lee. Lee, who was a freshman at Virginia Tech University, died Jan. 26 in a single-vehicle crash while she and four friends headed back to school from a ski trip. She was sitting in the passenger’s seat; the car struck a tree head on.
The Colonels are doing all the work on the project themselves and have worked to raise money through the season. Hendrickson told them if they raised $200 they could shave his head however they pleased. They in turn challenged him to match what they raised before he fixed it.
They raised $216.
The Colonels have also picked up sponsors to help them—through a connection, Home Depot is providing some materials necessary for the project. Magruder has raised more than $3000 through various fundraising activities, including a car wash and selling tee-shirts honoring Lee.
‘‘I own a tee-shirt company and I went back to work the next day and I forgot my hair looked the way it did and I was helping a customer and he just was looking at me so weird like he didn’t know what was going on,” Hendrickson said. ‘‘I didn’t even realize until after he left and I rubbed my hand across my hair and was like, ‘Oh.’ So I made a shirt that said, ‘‘My team raised $216 to make me look like this. Help me raise that to fix it.’ And I’d be at the bank or the store and people would hand me $5 or $10. I ended up raising an additional $260 that way.”
The official groundbreaking ceremony for the bench area was May 3. The Colonels have begun excavating the area, spending 30-45 minutes after practice every day digging into the hill along the first base line of the field. Hendrickson, his players and whomever else from the Magruder community willing to help, hope to have construction, which will include putting up a retaining wall, a plague, setting the bench into pavement on the hill, completed by the program’s inaugural Alumni game May 31. If they can’t make that deadline their ultimate deadline is Lee’s birthday, June 22.
The bullpen area, which Lee suggested for the team herself last year, was erected earlier this year. It’s functional but the Colonels are still making improvements—putting in a home plate and pitching rubbers, putting in the same mix used on the field. And they’ll build a memorial—they’ve taken the pitching rubbers Lee used and hope to make a sort of plaque in cement.
‘‘The day after Nicole passed away we were already talking about wanting to do something,” Hendrickson said. ‘‘When I took the job last year we took some satellite photos of the field and I asked the girls if they could have the ideal complex what would they want. And Nicole said she thought a bullpen. Somewhere the pitchers can go and get focused and warm up.”
The Colonels found inspiration in their former teammate and dedicated this season to her. Playing with immense enthusiasm and commitment to the team, the Colonels (8-7) notched their first winning season in three years.
‘‘Nicole was one of those girls who went 6 million miles an hour,” Hendrickson said. ‘‘We really emphasized this year taking advantage of each day, each opportunity and always giving 100 percent of your energy.”
We have been working hard to continue the construction of the Nicole Lee Memorial Bullpen at the Magruder Softball complex. The bench area is almost completed, with some landscaping and a few finishing touches left to do. The Bullpens will be spruced up and allow the grass to recover from the heavy work load, and we’ll be ready for the dedication that will occur on June 21st in conjunction with a Picnic being planned by the Lee family and Nicki’s friends.
The effort to get this project to its’ current stage was amazing. Molly Miller (Sr.) stepped up and did a lot of the excavation labor and construction labor, along with Nicole’s Family, the MHS Softball Family & Alumni and Coach Hendrickson.
The fund-raising effort included donations by Shana Sally and her parents, The Class of 2007, A SIGNStore Inc., Several Magruder Faculty, Teams & Staff, Dinner Nite @ Mama Lucia’s of Olney, a ‘Special’ haircut for Coach Ed and donations from several within the Softball Commnuity.
Every drop of blood, sweat and tears were to honor the memory and legacy of an amazing young woman who left us way to early. Nicki – You are in our hearts every moment, and are missed. We LOVE You!
LEE – FOREVER IN OUR HEARTS
Nicki Lee has been laid to rest. She will be a powerful and guiding force in how we go about our lives, and how we play the game that she so loved.
To the entire Magruder community, the love and compassion you showered on the Lee family was a great comfort. Knowing the impact Nicki had on so many people helped illuminate the gift that she shared so freely – unconditional acceptance of her friends and an amazing passion for life. We all move forward with the strong desire to continue that gift in our lives.
As a community, we need to continue to embrace the Lee family. Their lives are forever changed, and we need to take opportunities to help in little ways. We will keep in touch and reach out as we know of needs, and the family has promised to do the same.
Take Care of Each Other…