Now, I'm not the only person Deanna was important to. It's not even close. One way you could tell how many people she had an impact on would be to see how people reacted to the news of her passing.
Both Sporting Kansas City and the Kansas City Comets (indoor soccer) both used their official social media accounts to express their sadness at the news. Players and team staff (both current and former) took to Twitter to express their emotions.
Carter Augustine, the voice of the Swope Park Rangers, reacted this way.
Very sad to hear. Superfan for both teams, Deanna was always such a pleasure to talk with https://t.co/DKjh1Dc5Wi— Carter Augustine (@CarterAugust1ne) July 28, 2017
Goalkeeper Scott Angevine, who spent time with Sporting Kansas City before going to play overseas, said:
2013 MLS Cup MVP Aurelien Collin, never one to hide his emotions, let us know how he really felt.One of the nicest people I have had the pleasure of meeting. Was always a pleasure seeing her smiling face out at training. Rest In Peace. https://t.co/gyQVOfK3qM— Scott Angevine (@scottangevine) July 28, 2017
😭😭😭she was an unbelievable person!! Always taking care of her husband and family we will miss her a lot !! I am very sad! 😭— Aurelien COLLIN (@ampC2) July 28, 2017
How long did Deanna have an impact on soccer in Kansas City? Curt Johnson, general manager of the Wizards (Nov. 1999-2006) had this to say.
Baker? Yeah, Deanna used to bake cookies for the players. It took the nutritional staff of the club to finally get her to stop.What a lady. Incredible fan of @sportingkc & the Wizards. Awesome baker & diehard supporter for two decades. Deanna @dew1805 will b missed! https://t.co/rzpk99VvHr— Curt Johnson (@curtjohnson17) July 28, 2017
Deanna had an impact on these teams because of her unconditional support for the players not only for their efforts on the field, but as people off of it. Former Wizard/Sporting KC defender Jimmy Conrad reminded me that she would attend all of his radio shows. Afterward, she would lecture him on how she thought the team should be doing.
The way she treated all of the players like they were her children and loving them unconditionally came from her strong religious faith and her career as a teacher. She was always nice to me and treated me more like I was one of her kids. When I went to her husband's funeral, I would have probably, left to my own devices, picked out a seat somewhere near the back. No, Deanna wasn't having it. She insisted that I sit up with her and her kids.
Now, when I walked into Children's Mercy Park tonight and headed up to the press box, I knew the club had appreciated Deanna. I'm not sure I really knew how much until I looked out across the field and saw the stadium's flags were all at half-staff.
Then the game started and the team played with a freedom and flow I'm sure Deanna would have appreciated, especially considering the team extended its home unbeaten streak to 20 matches.
I think I'll close with something one of her fellow fans said about her.
Every time the SPR lineup was announced, Deanna gave the biggest cheers 💙⚽️ May we all aspire to live with her passion and joy! https://t.co/F8y4929NDs— alyssasaurus 📎 (@mrszimmerbun) July 28, 2017
Amen to that. RIP, Deanna. You've certainly earned it.