Penfield, N.Y. -- The recent success of Penfield’s wrestling program can be attributed in part to a youth coach and father of seven who has helped mold some of the team’s best athletes. But this year, Scott Kropman’s taking on a new and unexpected opponent; cancer.
Kropman was diagnosed on November 5th after months of tests that began in August after he saw a doctor for a shoulder injury he suffered at work. Doctors now tell him they’re fairly certain he has a Neuroendocrine tumor and the mass in his shoulder is just some of what was discovered.
"My shoulder, my spine, my abdomen and then they said they saw possible spots in my pelvis, my rib," Kropman explained while pointing to various spots on his body.
"I came home from practice the first day actually and they told me about it," Sklyer Kropman, a junior on Penfield’s team recalled of his father’s diagnosis.
“My mom showed up late and I was like why are you late?” Parker Kropman, a Penfield freshman said of the day he learned about his dad. “And she just started crying and I asked her what was wrong and she told me."
Success in wrestling is often developed through routine. When something disrupts that routine a wrestler’s focus is tested.
"Just when I'm doing my takedowns, drilling my moves (I) just try to think about it so every time I push that little extra so I can get that takedown or get my back points," Parker said of how he focuses on his routine despite this distraction.
“It kind of motivates me as well because I don't know what's going to happen, how long he's going to be here, and I want to win like even more,” Skylar said. “Like I already want to win but I want to win even more for him."
Kropman’s prognosis isn’t good, but it’s early yet. There are many more tests and procedures in his future, more meetings with doctors, and more time to fight back.
"My one friend always said this will be your toughest match," smiled Kropman.