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Tuesday, February 04, 2020

The Story of John Altobelli and the Community He Helped Heal

COSTA MESA, Calif. — The morning after Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, wife Keri and their daughter Alyssa died in the helicopter crash that also killed NBA star Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and four others, Kent Watanabe sat inside the baseball stadium where Altobelli had reigned for 27 seasons.

A gray-haired, 67-year-old man with a cane, Watanabe was seated on a bench near the front gate, a lone sentinel guarding what he and the other grief-stricken members of the OCC baseball family call “The House That Alto Built.” He was there to talk about Altobelli—known more commonly by his two-syllable nickname—and about the healing that Alto and his family had brought to Watanabe and his family over the preceding decade. But first he wanted to explain, with a hint of apology, that the reason he wasn’t crying was “because I physically do not have any tears left after yesterday.”

“He meant the world to us,” Watanabe continued as his wife, Annie, approached, wiping her eyes. “More than that. You can’t measure it.”

“Alto and his family picked us up, physically, mentally, emotionally,” Annie said, “and put us back together again.”

A piece on the personal relationships that can be built through the game, and a reminder of their meanings and significances.

QLE Posted: February 04, 2020 at 12:48 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: human interest story, john altobelli

 

 

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