BOONVILLE - Hundreds piled into the Starmount gymnasium to pay tribute to Austin Macemore and watch the sport he loved during “Pin Cancer for Macemore Night.”
“I think the turnout speaks for itself without me saying what type of young man Austin was,” head wrestling coach David Oliver said. “And the thing is, they all stayed; they wanted to see what he’s done and what he was a part of. There were people in that crowd who had never seen a wrestling match before, I guarantee it. That was special.”
The assembly of spectators filled the dimly-lit gym to capacity. Dozens more stood near the entrances, listening to Oliver tell stories about Austin’s life, while photos of the 19-year-old and his friends and families flirted in the background.
“The thing about Austin is, I didn’t have to sit down and write a speech - it’s all in my head. That’s what I wanted to do and that’s what he would have wanted me to do,” Oliver said. “I wanted to memorialize his life by talking about the impact that he made each time he did something.
“I thought everything went as planned, even though we had to throw it together in a day. Everything went perfect and it went perfect for a reason - for a good young man,” he added.
Starmount’s current wrestlers, donning a “Pin Cancer for Macemore” T-shirt, hugged Teena and Wayne Macemore before the tribute, and stood idle along the side during the ceremony.
Teena and Wayne, sitting in the front row near the scorer’s table, laughed and cried during Oliver’s speech. Wayne, fighting back tears, stood up and thanked everyone for supporting their son.
“It all started with David Oliver. He called us and asked what he could do. He said he wanted to have a tribute to Austin because he meant so much to the program. He said he wanted to give back because Austin gave us four years,” he said. “He wanted to have the biggest show of fans that have ever been here, and I tell you, looking around, this is the biggest crowd I have ever seen at Starmount High School.
“He said it says something about your son, but it also says something about the people in Yadkin County and the love that they have,” Wayne added.
Following the speeches, a candlelight ‘A’ illuminated the backdrop as a musical tribute was played.
While Austin began “his life living in the loving arms of Christ” Tuesday morning, Oliver said some moments with Austin he will never forget.
“Three matches is three matches. But for a kid who has been through what he went through and losing his life to the disease, that’s a special moment in my life that I will never forget,” Oliver said. “Austin was 3-0 as a wrestler and he would always let you know he was perfect.
“He let me know every time I saw him, “I’m undefeated, Coach,” he added.
Reach Matthew Gorry at 835-1513 or firstname.lastname@example.org.