One in an occasional series.
The day before yesterday, Keli Smith-Puzo, the forward for the U.S. women’s national field hockey team, had this to say about today’s 11th-place game in the Olympics on her Twitter account:
Friday, I’ll play my final game in the Olympics in honor of Caitlin Kremp, an amazing young woman that I was lucky to know! R.I.P. Caitlin
Who was Caitlin Kremp, and why is she being remembered on the veteran’s Twitter feed? Last year, she was one of the featured figures in the fourth season debut of the MTV series “Made.” The reality show features teens who want to improve themselves and the process by which they do so.
Kremp was a senior on the fledgling Hampton Phoebus (Va.) field hockey team that went winless in its maiden season in the fall of 2009. But once a letter reached MTV producers, none other than Keli Smith-Puzo was brought in to improve the players’ condition, basic skills, tactics, and attitude.
Kremp graduated from Phoebus in 2011 and matriculated to Virginia Commonwealth and declared for a major in business.
But last Tuesday, in the Colorado wilderness during an expedition she was guiding, Caitlin Kremp fell 200 feet to her death from a rock outcropping. It’s one of the cruelest, most heart-rending things to befall a member of the U.S. field hockey community I’ve heard since the death of Tiffany Bashore.
Caitlin Kremp lost her life just when it was beginning. She was well-liked at VCU and by her peers at Phoebus. She learned a number of life lessons during Smith-Puzo’s seven weeks with the team, and strove to carry them forward as team captain.
She and her Phoebus teammates strove to improve once Smith-Puzo came on the scene, and helped the team improve to the point to where they earned their first win in program history in 2011, a year after she graduated from high school as valedictorian.
Kremp is an example of a life well-lived. Rest in peace, indeed.