Saturday afternoon, in the midst of a high-energy high school
volleyball tournament, Todd Renzi walked slowly with his two daughters
to a corner of the Plymouth High School gymnasium and offered them a
valuable life lesson.
"I sat them down and pointed out to the games going on," Renzi said, his eyes moistening. "And I said, 'This is because of your mother.' I told them, 'This is all for you. If you ever wonder how much you're loved or how many people care for you, remember this.'"
On April 4, Todd Renzi and his daughters -- 12-year-old Marina and 10-year-old Adeline -- lost the biggest part of their lives when Kim Renzi, their wife and mother, lost her battle with the harshest form of melanoma, a fast-spreading skin cancer that was diagnosed last summer.
In the short time Kim Renzi served as the Plymouth High School freshman volleyball coach, she made an ever-lasting impression on everyone associated with the program.
A warm and caring coach with an extensive knowledge of the sport, Renzi's team quickly became an extension of her family.
Saturday's 2nd Annual Kim Renzi Memorial Invitational volleyball tournament was a way the Wildcats volleyball program could further embrace the Renzi family in the wake of Kim's death.
All the donations from the day-long, nine-team junior varsity tournament will be donated to the Renzi girls' college fund -- an act of kindness Todd Renzi had a difficult time describing.
"I could use the word amazing," he said, "but that wouldn't be strong enough. I know a lot of families besides ours go through what we've gone through, but I don't know how we could have gotten through it without the help of (Plymouth volleyball coach) Kelly McCausland and all the players.
"They've treated us like family."
Last year's inaugural tournament was for freshmen teams, considering Renzi coached then ninth-graders. This year was a JV tournament and next year and the coming years will be varsity tournaments, Renzi said.
"Down the road, I'd like to see a fund established that will take the proceeds from the tournament and help other families that are going through what we're going through," he said.
Both avid volleyball players, Marina and Adeline received some news they were hoping for earlier this summer when they found out they would be attending Plymouth High School in the future.
"You could have heard the cheering from inside our house from miles around," Todd Renzi said. "To be able to someday play at the school that has become so special to us is beyond words."
Ed Wright can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org or (734) 453-1980.