During the past 30 days, there have been some tough times in Irvine. First, a popular Irvine swimming coach and water polo coach Scott Hinman collapsed and died during a swim meet on March 29.
Many tributes were posted for Hinman in the front of the Woollett Aquatics Center, where Hinman used to coach. A tribute for Hinman is expected to be held next month at Irvine.
Then, 19-year-old Austin Hwang, a beloved and former Irvine High varsity football player died after a battle with cancer.
Many of Hwang’s former teammates came out last week to pay tribute to Hwang and Coach Erik Terry led those at a candlelight vigil at Irvine Stadium.
They prayed, they cried and they laughed as they shared stories about the popular football player.
We still remember a couple athletes who were running track before the tribute.
They said they remember Hwang and how healthy he was. They were shocked when a reporter informed them he had died and that the tribute was being held for Hwang.
They asked what probably so many were wondering: how could this happen to someone so young?
The two athletes said they would pray for the Hwang family.
Hwang’s death hit the Irvine football family hard, but the family gained strength through the support of so many.
Then last week, the story of 12-year-old Joshua Wong, a former Irvine Pony baseball player who died last year, emerged. Woodbridge baseball players, led by Jackson Lyon, honored the young player last week at Ryan Lemmon Stadium.
The Woodbridge baseball team has dedicated the season to Joshua and his parents are pulling for the team as they challenge for a Pacific Coast League title.
There was one story which had a happier ending and was very inspirational. Irvine junior Alex Suarez, who had brain surgery in January to remove a tumor, returned to play for the varsity baseball team in the Ryan Lemmon Invitational and was cheered by his family, his teammates and Irvine coach Ryan Brucker.
Suarez also came back to pitch a couple weeks later in a Pacific Coast League game against Woodbridge.
Suarez came on in the sixth inning with two outs and allowed three runs while striking out…