BOONVILLE - Austin Macemore always joked, telling his dad that he would get his soccer jersey retired at Starmount.
That dream finally came true Monday afternoon, but not in the way that Wayne Macemore or his family would have thought or wanted. The Rams retired Austin’s famed No. 3 jersey in a special and emotional ceremony, posthumously honoring the fallen 19-year-old, who lost his second battle with cancer in January.
“He always picked on me saying that he would have his jersey retired at Starmount. We never dreamed of anything like this of course,” Wayne explained. “But the best thing I can say about him is that he lived his life full of love and for other people, and that’s how Jesus did. He was a Christian through and through.
“The spirit of Austin was here tonight, there’s no doubt in my mind whatsoever,” he continued. “He’s in heaven saying, ‘All this attention for me? Nah. But I sure do love having my jersey retired.’”
The hard-fought game on the field Monday between Yadkin County neighbors Starmount and Forbush took a backseat to the halftime ceremony that honored Austin, who was loved by both schools in the county.
“This really is an awesome community,” Wayne continued. “The love people have here for him here shows you that. He loved everybody he came in contact with. It’s just awesome that they could this for him.
“When somebody is down and out, everybody is there to pick us up. We would have done the same thing for other people, and we just hope other people continue to do it because this really is a great place to live,” he added.
Starmount head soccer coach Dale Draughn was joined by Austin’s parents, Wayne and Teena, during the ceremony. The three unveiled Austin’s framed orange No. 3 jersey as the announcer confirmed that no Ram will ever wear the number again on the soccer pitch.
A gold engraved plaque on the frame reading “In Memory of Austin Wayne Macemore - Class of 2012” was donated by Elkin’s soccer program, as players came to show their support.
Draughn held Austin’s jersey high in the middle of the field as both sides cheered. The Macemore’s then hugged each Starmount player to conclude the emotional ceremony.
Draughn said the school picked Monday’s game hold the retirement ceremony because of Austin’s impact on the community.
“We chose to do it tonight because Austin played a large part in the lives of the students at both Starmount and Forbush,” he said. “Austin is a legacy at Starmount High School. And I know he was just smiling from ear to ear during the retirement ceremony of his jersey.”
Despite winning the game, Forbush head coach Seth Davis deflected questions about his teams’ performance, echoing Draughn’s sentiments.
“This game was really about Austin,” he explained. “You can tell these kids play together a lot and they have a lot of respect for each other and for Austin. This was to commemorate him and what he did here.
“I know my guys wanted to participate. Some of them brought flowers and wanted to be apart of the ceremony. They wanted to go over and watch the ceremony. They have a lot of respect for him.
“I feel for Wayne and Teena and the boys,” Davis continued. “It was emotional for them to come back on the field and not have their oldest here with them. I’m glad Starmount did this for him because he really was a special player.”
Wayne thanked Draughn and Starmount athletic director Scott Carter for spearheading the jersey retirement, saying “When you have a lot of love in your heart, all things are possible.”
Reach Matthew Gorry at 835-1513 or firstname.lastname@example.org.