HATCH, New Mexico -- When the fans pack the stands and the players hit the court at the Hatch Valley High auditorium Monday evening, the voice of a proud mother, wife and lifelong educator will be missing.
"She was the best teammate you could have," said Coach Ben Trujillo, who lost his wife, Karen, in February. "She was just so supportive."
Long before she led Las Cruces Public Schools, Karen Trujillo was the announcer for the Hatch Valley High School girls' basketball team.
"She would announce the foul before they would report the foul," laughed her husband. Someone asked me, 'Can you tell her not to do that?' I said, "I’m not going to do that. That’s my wife!"
The loss of his wife is incredibly fresh.
“I’ve thought many a time, I wish that would have been me," Trujillo said. For my family. For Las Cruces Public Schools. For everybody else, right? But that’s not God’s plan."
He must stay strong not only for his players, but his three children.
“I view it as a responsibility for my kids," Trujillo said. "For Taralyn, Tim and, Tavyn. They lost their mom.”
On the night of his season opener again Chaparral, Ben Trujillo must lead the girls while mourning his soulmate.
"The circumstances that happen to us are going to happen to us," Ben Trujillo said. "What we choose our attitude to be after that is up to us."