Local netballer Sophia Harper passed away on Sunday, losing a short battle with breast cancer. She was 41.
Harper, who was diagnosed with cancer last year, played with TSTT Netball Club under the guidance of coach Grace Parkinson-Griffith for the 15 years. She also had stints with Central Bank, Netaces, Maloney Tigers and Marvellites over her career which was cut short by the deadly disease.
"Sophie was always the player who was willing to help. She loved her game, she would play hard at her game," said Parkinson-Griffith, a former senior national coach, yesterday.
"There were times she may falter but it never stopped her from coming to play. Sometimes if she feels she's not working out in the goal-shooting position, she'd asked to go to wing-attack. She wasn't one of our best players but she was always one of the players you could depend on. She had that drive to just keep going and going and going."
Parkinson-Griffith, a former senior national coach, spoke highly of Harper, who she said would always volunteer her time off the court for the club.
"Every time we had something, Sophie is the cook. When it was time to get the uniforms together, Sophie is the one who would look for the design and decide, she was the trendsetter, she would always want to choose the fashion. Our very last uniform it's she who selected that uniform. She saw it, she liked it and she sent it to me and everybody else agreed that it's what they wanted to go with which is the black uniform that we have now.
"Sophie has done a lot for the team in the respect of winning games when Sophie's shot is on, trust me it's on and she could be a match-winner.
"In one particular Fast5 Tournament, Sophie shot about three or four six-pointers to help us win that game. At that particular game, I was not even at the game and she called me to tell me that we won the game and her achievements in scoring the six-pointers.
"She was always a player you could depend on. She would be there for her game as early as and if it is she was going to be late, she's going to let you know that she going to be coming late but she was a very dependable person. She's going to be sorely missed," sighed Parkinson-Griffith, "very sorely missed."
Harper was a member of the TSTT team that competes in the Championship Division of the Courts All Sectors Netball League (ASNL) which was halted after the Eastern Regional Indoor Sports Arena in Tacarigua among other venues were closed by the Ministry of Sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic, mid-March.
On the weekend, the ASNL on its Facebook page extended its deepest sympathies saying: "A pleasant Sunday afternoon to all. It is with a sense of sadness that we announce the passing of one of our netballers, Sophia Harper of TSTT Netball Club.
"The management takes this time to express our condolences to her family, teammates and friends and pray that they find comfort and support which is needed in this time of their grief. May God's love encompass them."
She leaves to mourn, husband Junior Harper, a former Maloney Pacers basketballer, children Juphia and Junisha and an 18-month-old grandchild.