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I was once told that you could measure the impact of one's life on others by how many people showed up at that individual's funeral. At extremely too young of an age, Ross Granger’s funeral resembled a sold-out championship match at the grandest of stadiums. His event was a standing room only and required multiple facilities to host the individuals who came to offer their respect for an amazing young man. Ross Granger was a faithful servant.
God has used numerous figures throughout time to create pivotal changes in the lives of others. Ross Granger was one of these figures for so many individuals - young and old. Prior to his illness, Ross was an example of pursuing excellence and using one's gifts to the fullest of his abilities. Academically, athletically, socially and spiritually Ross ruthlessly pursued greatness - not for his own sake, but to bring recognition to his Creator. Ross expected greatness out of himself - and encouraged it from others through his ways, words and actions. He embraced the spirit of using his God given talents to enhance the lives of others – on and off the fields of play.
When Ross became ill – his ruthless pursuit of excellence and greatness out of life became his mission! He used the platform that he was given to encourage and challenge those around him. His #WUPKAR echoed the way that Ross took on every day, every treatment and every obstacle – as an opportunity for him to be an example of Christ to others. Ross stood amazingly strong before young men and women – and challenged their efforts and motives in all that they pursued in this world. Most importantly, Ross challenged many to seek eternity and the strength of God on journey towards that great destination.
Ross Granger was a game changer!
(contributed by Brian Soignier)
Job 14:5 - "You have decided the length of our lives. You know how many months we will live, and we are not given a minute more."
I was told once that it's not the amount of years in your life but the amount of life in your years, and if that's the case, then Ross Granger's purpose here on Earth was certainly fulfilled. Cancer doesn't discriminate on whose lives it will affect, but it's those once in a generation people that can transform others with the challenges they face. Ross was certainly one of those people!! After his diagnosis, Ross and I had several difficult and uncomfortable conversations about life here on Earth and what we are called here to do, our purpose. I remember telling him that God uses many different people in many different ways just as he did in the Bible and that he had just received his orders. He now had a platform that not many people have to spread faith, hope and love -- the gospel!
I'll never forget the call I received from him asking me for the framework on how to speak publicly to athletes. I remember hanging up the phone and telling my wife that God knows exactly what he's doing with this kid because Ross was so much bigger than cancer. Ross would spend the next 16 months speaking to high school athletes, the LSU-E baseball team, the UL baseball, basketball and football teams as well as many other organizations. Who does that? Who gets diagnosed with a terminal illness and yet turns that mess into a message? Ross Stephen Granger, that's who!
I was honored to walk with this kid for the last 16 months of his life here on earth and let me tell you, Ross is not dead. He's more alive today than he's ever been. You see, sometimes Jesus chooses to heal our bodies and other times he RESURRECTS them, Ross certainly got the best of the two!!
Ross Granger was truly the hands and feet of Jesus!
(contributed by Ken Meyers)
When I began coaching it was my goal to have a positive impact on the lives of young men each and every year that I was given the opportunity to lead them. Little did I know when I became part of the staff at Erath High 6 years ago that those roles would be reversed and a young man would touch my life and change it in so many ways. Ross Granger was a selfless young man who always put the team first and was willing to go that extra mile to help out his team as well as his teammates both on and off the field. There was never a challenge that he backed down from, and he continued to exemplify that until his last day.
I can remember after his last high school game, he battled until the end as always, like the true warrior he was. Afterwards we cried and hugged each other, and he thanked me for 4 great years and summers of baseball. Today I want to say THANK YOU to Ross for showing me and the entire community of Erath the true meaning of being a great young man and an extraordinary teammate. Ross will continue to be in our hearts and his spirit will never leave that Erath Dugout. We will continue to play with great purpose, playing the great game of baseball the only way he knew how to play it, and that is with great passion and emotion. Ross watches over us each and every day here on this field.
My staff and the Erath Administration have retired Ross's jersey. A replica of his number 11 jersey will hang on the fence in the outfield where Ross will continue to watch over HIS team. It is my hope as a coach that the future of Erath baseball aspires to be as incredible on and off the field as Ross was, and that his number hanging there in the outfield will be an inspiration to the future of Bobcat Baseball. #WUPKAR!
(contributed by Jeremy Picard)
Ross Granger was my best friend, a standout football and baseball player at Erath High School. He earned prestigious honors in both sports while maintaining a 4.0 grade point average. During his senior year, Ross was also named homecoming king, most likely to succeed, and valedictorian. He was a leader as a class officer, student council and Beta club member, and attended Louisiana Boy’s State. In 2015, Ross was offered a scholarship to play the game he loved, baseball, at Louisiana State University at Eunice. But that summer, before he could start pursuing his dream of playing college baseball, he began to lose feeling in his left arm, his pitching arm.
After undergoing an 11 hour brain stem biopsy, he was diagnosed with a brainstem glioma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. Ross had a tumor growing inside his brainstem. He never complained, but went to work instead, and never gave up. He spent six weeks in Houston doing radiation, and then underwent 8 months of chemotherapy and experimental treatments. During this time, he also went to physical and occupational therapy every week.
Ross was the best friend you could ever ask for. Selfless, Ross would be concerned with making sure others were doing okay before he thought of himself. He loved attending Major League Baseball games and watching his favorite team, the Houston Astros. He loved baseball so much. His goal, during illness, was to get back to baseball. In the meantime, Ross became a motivational speaker, often traveling to local schools and neighboring colleges. His inspirational, moving speeches could pump up a group of men like no one else. Most of the time he’d have these men in tears, looking deep down into their souls.
Ross was a very remarkable young man that had a whole community behind him. He fought hard for one year and four months before God called him to come home. The night was November 11, 2016, around eight o’clock. He was surrounded, lovingly, by his family and multiple close friends. His funeral was amazing and deeply moving; he was truly a rock star! Over 1,000 people attended to pay respects to this young man. He touched so many lives in ways we never knew. From the beginning of his journey to now, the tributes that pour in for Ross speak volumes of the man he was.
Before Ross died, he told us one day he hoped to tell his story to the whole world. I vowed to Ross to spread his story and keep his fighting spirit alive.
Ross was nineteen when he passed away, one month from his twentieth birthday. We miss him more than words can say, but he has left us with memories and gifts to last us lifetimes. Ross has reminded us of the important things in life and because of him we live by one mantra, Ross’s mantra: WUPKAR! Every day, in honor of him, we “Wake up, Pray, Kick Ass, Repeat.”
(contributed by Taylor Abshire)