By Justin Jarrett
It took four days of fighting an infinite sadness that cropped up every time he crossed my mind, which was often, before I started to understand why this loss — after a year full of loss — hit me so hard.
Sure, he was a talented young athlete with a bright future, but I never even met him, so why couldn’t I shake the sinking feeling in my stomach?
In large part, I think it’s because I didn’t get to tell his story. Thankfully, Cindy Crosby documented Alex’s prolific high school career, including his All-State senior season, for the Press and Standard, but the timing of this tragic loss hammered home the fact that I had missed an opportunity to watch and report on a shining star that burned out far too soon.
We announced last week our expansion to Colleton County, and I was feeling great after covering the Cougars’ home game Friday night. I was editing photos from that game Saturday morning when I received a text letting me know Alex had been in a serious accident and was fighting for his life.
My heart sank.
Then I learned of all the tragedy that had preceded for the Sherrill family, and I was devastated. My go-to coping mechanisms are working and helping, so I went right to trying to do both. Multi-tasking is practically my religion.
By Sunday night, I had pulled out 48 remaining LowcoStrong t-shirts and put them on sale at LowcoSports.com. We’ll donate $10 from each one we sell to the Sherrill family, and we also hope to collect gift cards and household necessities to deliver on our next trip to Walterboro.
Tuesday was an awful day, and if it was awful for me, I cannot imagine how painful it was for everyone who knew and loved Alex. I wept openly on the WSAV NOW Sports podcast and melted into a blubbering mess begging my kids for hugs when I got the news that he was gone.
A bright light has burned out.
But the night was salvaged when our outgoing video intern, Carlo Perruzza, gave me the best idea of all — naming an award in Alex’s memory.
When we announce our All-Lowco Basketball Teams this spring, we will include a new honor — the Alex Sherrill Memorial Hustle & Heart Award. Alex never got to be a part of the All-Lowco Team, because we didn’t cover Colleton County until last week.
But he will always be a part of it from now on.
Rest in power, Alex.
Justin Jarrett is the founder of LowcoSports.com and the sports editor of The Island News.