MOORE, Okla. – It’s been nearly five years since a devastating tornado tore through Moore, killing 24 people, including seven children at Plaza Towers Elementary.
Now, the parents of one of the victims are sharing memories of their daughter for the first time.
“The kid knew more about enjoying life and having fun than most adults will ever forget in their life,” said Daniel Angle, father of Sydney Angle.
Whether it be her parents, her friends, or her softball coach, all of Sydney Angle’s friends describe her the same way.
“Fun to be around,” said Sydney’s best friend, Legacy McNeill.
“She’d be standing on third base, waiting for a play and she’d be dancing or singing,” Nicole Angle, Sydney’s mother, recalled.
Sometimes, the young softball player’s fun-loving nature presented challenges for her coaches, but the young girl was talented.
“Every time you’d think she wasn’t paying attention, she’d make this ridiculously amazing play,” said Nicole.
One of Sydney’s biggest goals was to get to play pitcher.
“It takes a lot of work and she did,” said Landon McNeill, Sydney’s softball coach. “She put in a ton of work.”
That hard work paid off.
Nicole Angle captured cell phone video of the first time Sydney got to pitch in a game. It was just days before the tornado claimed her life and the family’s home.
“But we were able to recover a lot of her belongings that were very important to us,” Nicole said.
Perhaps more important than the belongings are the memories, like a daddy-daughter dance or a special trip the family will never forget.
“It was such a big deal,” she recalled.
Precious moments with their precious little girl.
“She just reached up and grabbed my hand and held my hand all the way out of the park,” Sydney’s dad, Daniel said. “I still swear I can still feel her hand in mine sometimes. That’s one that’s etched. That’s one that will be there forever.”
They say their little girl still inspires so many.
“Sydney lived life the way that we’re supposed to,” Daniel said. “She just enjoyed so much of it. That’s the biggest thing I could go back and tell her is that I’m so proud of her. Regardless of the things that I would try to do and that anyone would try to do, she did it right. She did it right.”
Every year, more than 100 softball teams flock to Buck Thomas Park in Moore for the “Play4Syd” Tournament.
There, they do all of Sydney’s favorite things – play softball, dance to music and eat her favorite snacks like turkey legs and picklesicles.
The tournament’s proceeds go to funding for softball scholarships.
The ‘Play4Syd’ tournament starts Friday night and runs through Sunday.
If you’d like to learn more, you can visit the Play4Syd website.