'Working smarter' to find a cure for sarcoma

Steve was many things. He was charismatic. He was engaging. He was thoughtful. He was intelligent. He was funny. He was a musician. But initially, I never described Steve as an athlete. Now before you go and rip me to shreds, let me explain.

When I first met Steve, we were freshmen at UofL. And as freshmen college students you tend to do certain things together – study, hang out, go to parties. Couple those experiences with the fact that Steve would refuse to take the stairs in the lecture halls and instead would take the elevator, and you’ll see why I came to the initial conclusion that my dear friend wasn’t much of an athlete (side note — his excuse for taking the elevator was to ‘work smarter, not harder,’ and it’s tough to argue with him on that).

But in the summer semester between our freshman and sophomore years, the group of us that were on campus taking classes decided to start playing sand volleyball a couple of nights a week. It only took about two minutes until Steve dove to keep a ball alive, got up, then received the set and spiked the ball over the net for a point. Well, in that moment I learned Steve definitely was an athlete who just liked to ‘work smarter, not harder’….and drink some coldies.

So we spent that summer playing sand volleyball. And Steve loved every second of it. And now, as I sit here 10 years later (yes…I’m getting old and I’d prefer not to talk about it), that summer has a special place in my memory. We were stuck on campus taking engineering classes. No parties. Just hanging out with friends and playing sand volleyball. Exactly what I would want to do with Steve if he was here today.

It only makes sense that when the Steven Vanover Foundation was initially thinking of what we could do for an annual fundraising event, we knew it should involve summer, volleyball, and coldies. And this became Spike Out Sarcoma! What started as an 8-team tournament in 2016 has grown to a 32-team tournament with a wait list! As a member of the Steven Vanover Foundation, I can’t thank the participants, sponsors and volunteers enough for their continued support at Spike Out Sarcoma.

I am proud to announce that the 2019 Spike Out Sarcoma tournament raised over $26,000! All from a bunch of people wanting to do what some engineering students did weekly in the summer of 2009 – all in the name of Steven Vanover. And for that, I personally thank you. And even though I loved my friend, I still disagree with him….it’s okay to take the stairs every now and then.

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David OsborneComment