The text arrived on my phone at 6:13 p.m. on Friday, October 16, 2015 as I was preparing to broadcast a high school football game in Elyria:
Check your twitter....Johnny Manziel issue.....fight with girlfriend in car on Nagel Road. Both drinking.
It was from my Mom.
Karen DeNatale was not a huge sports fan. But in the years since her son had decided to take up sportscasting as a profession, she had become acutely aware of what was important in my world.
Suddenly, I put down my game notes and my flip card, because this was a story that my partner Matt Fontana and I would have to address during our broadcast. Because at that time, no one 'moved the needle' quite like Mr. Manziel.
And my Mom was the one who had given me the scoop.
15 days later, Karen DeNatale passed away due to sepsis that occurred following surgery. It's safe to say that most everything in my world has changed since then. Mom was the compass in my life that always kept me pointed in the right direction. She was the rock that my sister Michelle and I Ieaned on. And suddenly she was gone.