As the head softball coach at Clarkdale, Rick Roberson has enjoyed immense success. But three years ago, he found himself facing an opponent that he had not prepared for.
"i was diagnosed with neck and throat cancer, and of course, it was a devastating announcement to myself because I had never been sick," Roberson said.
After his diagnosis, Roberson says he immediately began treatment at the Anderson Cancer Center in Meridian.
"When you first go, you're scared to death but you soon find that they make it as personal, as dignified, as helpful as it could be," he said.
Roberson's treatment began in January, right around the start of the fast pitch softball season. But the fans that came to Clarkdale field to check out the Lady Bulldogs still saw Roberson in the dugout for every game of that season.
"You have to live what you preach," said Roberson. "You preach to the girls that when things are bad you have to keep going, so I felt obligated to do that. When they put my Mediport in, it was on my left side. Of course, I'm left- handed. Well my doctor's instructions were don't throw a ball, don't hit a ball. And so I said, why don't you just knock me in the head? You just ended my whole thing. So what I did, I just taught myself to throw right-handed."
Roberson and Clarkdale softball are as strong as ever. The head coach led his Lady Bulldogs to another state championship game berth this past season. And with the fast pitch season approaching, expect to see Roberson coaching once again on the sports biggest stage in the near future.
WTOK's John Johnson is running in the Rocket City Marathon Saturday to benefit the Anderson Cancer Center Patient Benevolence Fund. You may make donations online ( a link is provided below) or send them to:
Community Foundation of East Mississippi
P.O. Box 865
Meridian MS 39302