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She won’t be denied

Hamlet Nalbandyan

LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE -- In Kim Gilmour’s words, it’s not that bad. But

then again, she said she’s gotten used to it.

The La Canada High softball catcher has been bothered by tendinitis --

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which, to those not familiar with the medical world, is an inflammation

of a tendon -- in her right wrist since November.

Being right-handed, obviously that hasn’t been too conducive in her

athletic endeavors.

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But Gilmour, much to the surprise of her teammates, coaches, and even

herself, hasn’t been kept out of action.

“To tell you the truth, I didn’t even count on her until best, the

middle of the season, if at all,” La Canada softball Coach Bart Dickins

said. “But there she was, catching the first game of the season.”

The fact that she has played every single inning of every single game

for the Spartans (19-4-1) -- who will host Irvine Northwood (19-5) at

3:15 p.m. in a CIF Southern Section Division IV quarterfinal game today

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-- should tell you something about the 17-year-old’s conviction.

But to understand the full scope of what it means to actually do that,

you have to go back to where all the junior’s trials and tribulations

began.

*

Gilmour was one of the area’s prominent girls’ tennis players, having

gone 52-6 in sets this past season and been crowned the Rio Hondo League

singles champion.

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But in the second round of the CIF Individual Tournament, she could

tell something was wrong.

“It had been there for a while, but I never really noticed it until

that very last game [in the CIF Individual Tournament],” said Gilmour of

her injury.

“I hit a couple of shots, and wow, there was definitely some pain

involved.”

Gilmour had to default from her set, but the worst was yet to come.

After taking a couple weeks off, she started therapy with hopes of

returning to full strength in time for the winter basketball season.

That didn’t happen.

“The therapy just made it worse,” she said. “It didn’t give it a

chance to heal, and it started to hurt more.”

That’s been part of Gilmour’s dilemma. The reason her injury hasn’t

fully healed yet, is because, well, she hasn’t really given it a chance

to do so.

Against doctor’s advice, she has not taken any time off from playing

sports, which says a lot about her character.

“She didn’t want to let her teammates down,” Dickins said.

Gilmour returned in time for the league basketball season, but she

played in limited minutes because she was basically playing with her left

hand.

“That was an interesting experience,” Gilmour said jokingly.

Obviously, softball -- especially catching -- couldn’t afford her that

luxury, if you could call it that.

So if she wanted to play, she would have play through the pain.

“I didn’t think I would be able to throw, because that’s basically the

motion that causes the pain,” she said.

“The pain was never like ‘I can’t do this,’ but it’s not exactly the

best feeling in the world.

“I didn’t know what to expect, but I’m happy with the way things have

worked out.

Things have worked out rather fine for Gilmour and La Canada, despite

the fact that she hasn’t been able to hit this season until recently,

where she’s only able to bunt.

Her lead-by-example attitude and stellar defense catapulted the

Spartans to their fourth straight league title, not to mention sparking

Dickins’ squad to winning 14 of its past 15 games.

Gilmour has handled 2,091 pitches this season and committed only one

error and had just two passed balls. In comparison to last season, she

committed seven errors and allowed three passed balls in 2,363 pitches.

Remarkable indeed, considering she has gotten better defensively,

despite not being able to do anything with her right hand, as Dickins

said.

“Kim is our unsung hero,” Dickins said. “Her value to the team is

unbelievable. She is an inspiration.”

And in more ways than just athletically.

“The one thing that I have to say about Kim is that she makes me want

to be a better person,” Spartan pitcher Kelly Kalish said.

“She is truly an amazing person, I can’t even come close to fully

describing it. What she has had to overcome this year just shows how

strong she is, and I admire her for that.”

THE GILMOUR FILE

NAME: Kim Gilmour.

BORN: Dec. 27, 1984.

SCHOOL: La Canada High.

SPORTS SHE PLAYS: Tennis, basketball and softball.

ACADEMICS: Gilmour boasts a 4.5 grade-point average.

HER NUMBERS: Caught all 171 innings this season, committing only one

error and allowing just two passed balls after handling 2,091 pitches.

FAVORITE MOVIE: “Armageddon.”

FAVORITE MUSIC: Country.

DID YOU KNOW?: Gilmour has played in the CIF quarterfinals in all

three sports she has participated in, making it in tennis in 1999, in

basketball in 2000, and in softball the past two seasons.


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