News Release: Linton Wins Courage Award

CLAIRE LINTON RECEIVES 2019 JEFFREY REED COURAGE AWARD
WESTERN MUSTANGS WOMEN’S SOFTBALL CAPTAIN 4TH ANNUAL WINNER

Feb. 12, 2019 (London, ONT) – Today, LondonOntarioSports.com announces Western Mustangs women’s softball captain Claire Linton as winner of the 2019 Jeffrey Reed Courage Award.

Click here for CBC Radio interview with Claire Linton.

Linton, 21, of Brampton, Ont. is the fourth annual winner of the Jeffrey Reed Courage Award, presented by LondonOntarioSports.com to a Southwestern Ontario athlete – amateur or professional – who inspires others by demonstrating courage on and off the playing field.

A disabled athlete, Reed was given no chance of playing competitive sports and very little chance of walking properly past the age of 50. But in 2000 and 2001, he was a member of the London Majors of the semi-professional Intercounty Baseball League, and at age 39 pitched as an IBL rookie. Today, at age 57, he is a scratch golfer and ambassador for numerous golf industry members. Read more at http://www.jeffreyreedreporting.com/speaking.htm.

The Jeffrey Reed Courage Award encourages you to dream big and never stop dreaming; work with mentors and mentor others; learn from failure; give 100 per cent at all times; and never quit.

Each spring, LondonOntarioSports.com awards the winning athlete with a plaque and $1,000 award at the web publication’s annual banquet recognizing and celebrating his or her courage in sports and in life. Each athlete must write a 1,000-word essay nominating themselves for the award.

Past winners are: FC London/Fanshawe Falcons soccer player Chelsea Zavitz (2016); former Fanshawe Falcons female athlete of the year Ali Vlasman (2017); and Western nursing graduate Danielle Austin (2018). Biographies are published at https://londonontariosports.com/jeffrey-reed-courage-award-bios/.

During the past four seasons, the Mustangs have captured four conference, four provincial and one national championship. And according to head coach Pete Lemon, winning would have felt shallow without Linton on the team during that span. In fact, Lemon said Linton and her incredible story of courage inspired the entire team to greatness, on and off the field.

Claire Linton

“Claire is a quality individual,” Lemon said. “She’s a natural leader, and that’s one reason why her teammates selected her as captain. She’s not a natural athlete, but nobody on this team worked harder than her. In fact, she has had to work hard at every aspect of the game, and often, through adversity, figured things out for herself through that hard work and perseverance.”

There have been plenty of challenges thrown at Linton during her four years at Western University. Yet through it all, she exemplified everything the Jeffrey Reed Courage Award stands for, and proved to be a worthy winner of the fourth-annual award.

Working as a camp counsellor before what was to be her sophomore season, Linton suffered a serious injury which would change her life forever. A torn calf muscle not only prevented her from playing that season, but it also proved to be a catalyst in bringing out her best traits: never shying away from a challenge; always facing incredible odds with dignity and grace; working tirelessly to beat the odds; and at the same time, giving back to others.

Instead of feeling defeated and shying away from the Mustangs softball team, Linton fully embraced the challenge, and concurrently further embedded herself within the softball program. She relied on crutches for four months, put in countless hours of physiotherapy at Fowler-Kennedy Sports Medicine Clinic and, with much-needed moral support from her coaches and teammates saw results that would eventually see her return to the playing field as a much-improved varsity athlete.

During her rehabilitation, Linton never missed a game nor practice, and was part of every Mustangs women’s softball fundraiser. Most of all, she was an inspiration to her team and an involved member of the community. At first, running one kilometre was a big challenge for Linton. But she ran every day, and by training camp she was able to run 10 K. She lost weight gained while recovering from her injury, and gained more muscle. And her mental game was much improved. Said Linton, “I was more powerful than I was before the injury and came back for my third year stronger than ever.”

During her sophomore season on the bench, the Mustangs had repeated their accomplishments of the previous season – conference and provincial champions, and second-place finishers at nationals. In 2017 during Linton’s third year, they swept conference, provincials and nationals, and Linton was presented with the Mustang Award for exemplifying the ideal values of a Mustang student athlete.

Claire Linton

“Balancing varsity athletics and being a student who tries to achieve an honours specialization in medical sciences, as well as a minor in psychology, has been challenging. It has taken many long days of work and dedication. But over the past four years, I have achieved more than I could have asked for,” she said.

This past season, Linton was named team captain and the squad’s starting first baseman. She impressed with a .424 batting average and stellar defence. Each of her four years with the Mustangs, Linton was named an Academic All Canadian for maintaining an above 80 average in the classroom while competing as a varsity athlete.

“Western softball is not just about achievements on the field, but also it’s about giving back to our wonderful, supportive community,” Linton explained. “Through the fantastic efforts of our coach, Dr. Peter Lemon, we have the opportunity to give back to the community and to instil a love of sport in local youth.

“Knowing that some girls feel pressured to drop out of sports because they’re not ‘girly’ is crushing for me. In addition to helping younger girls develop their skills on the diamond during our clinics, I make sure to share with them who I am, what successes I’ve enjoyed and how softball has played a role in this. I hope I inspire girls to continue playing the sport, because I know from experience how much they can gain from competing, being a teammate and giving back.”

LondonOntarioSports.com will honour Linton with the Jeffrey Reed Courage Award at its annual awards banquet on Friday, May 10 at Highland Country Club. Tickets are $30 (HST included) in advance only, available at the LondonOntarioSports.com office 519/643-6334 or news@londonontariosports.com.

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For more information and high-res images of Claire Linton, contact:
Jeffrey Reed, Editor, LondonOntarioSports.com 519/643-6334 or jeff@londonontariosports.com

About the Jeffrey Reed Courage Award:
Est. 2015, the Jeffrey Reed Courage Award is presented to a Southwestern Ontario athlete – amateur or professional – who inspires others with courage on and off the playing field. A disabled athlete, Jeffrey Reed pitched as a 39-year-old rookie with the London Majors of the Intercounty Baseball League. Learn more at https://londonontariosports.com/jeffrey-reed-courage-award-bios/.

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About jeffreyreed

A leading Canadian communications professional. Corporate office http://www.JeffreyReedReporting.com established 1989. Publisher/Editor of this website and https://londonontariogolf.com.

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