Over the past 23 years of being a coach in the Tinton Falls Middle School, I’ve been blessed to have coached, or have supervised as an Athletic Director, outstanding young male and female athletes. Obviously, the ones that stood out the most were the highly skilled and talented players that you knew had tremendous athletic abilities. I, in particular, always looked for the “intangibles” that an athlete can bring to a team. Hannah Duffy had the desire, the drive, the fighting spirit, the never give up attitude that coaches loved. Not only did Hannah have the skill on a soccer field, she had the heart. I would call her a “Little Spitfire.” Always fighting, never giving up no matter the score, always rooting her teammates on, and above all, always the agitator.
My favorite memory of Hannah was when I was the Athletic Director at the Middle School, and she was battling her illness, she would drive me crazy about playing in a game. During one game, she asked me time and time again, “Can I play Mr. Mac?” This went on and on and each time the answer would be “No Hannah! Please stop asking! You are wearing jeans!” Of course she didn’t stop. She pushed and pushed until she got her way. The next week, she was not only playing, she was scoring the winning goal. That “intangible” of never giving up, never stop fighting, has left a lifelong lasting impression on me. Hannah was truly one of a kind. I am so thankful to have those memories of Hannah, and to have met and become such dear friends with John and Sue. Happy Birthday #3! We miss you!