Coach gives back to the community, despite illness

The players on the Thunder Girls' softball team will tell you the best way to start a season is to win. Last night, on a Crown Point diamond, they did just that by a score of nine to one. Their coach, Mike Sirbas, couldn't be happier. It's all part of being involved in the game he loves, despite a serious medical challenge that began with this prognosis.

"That I had stage four colon cancer and basically they gave me about a year...last January was my year so I passed that. Every day's a great day," said Sirbas.

Every other Wednesday Sirbas, a resident of Hammond, is given chemotherapy treatments. He still continues to maintain a busy schedule.

Sirbas actually coaches two girls' softball teams. He's an umpire, a tournament director and when he's not doing all of that he works full time as a maintainance manager in Lowell, Indiana.

Wife Penny is his staunchest supporter

"This is medicine to him...he loves the girls...he does a lot for the girls but what they give back to him in joy is two-hundred times more than what he gives," she said.

To one of the players on the team he's not only a coach, he's a father. Twelve year-old daughter April is a short stop.

"I think he does too much most of the matter how he's feeling comes out to the soft ball field...working on the brackets and stuff," April said.

Eighteen year-old daughter Penny Jo is a former player.

"He's always in a good mood...he's always trying to look at the bright side of things...he's always thinking about others and not himself," she said.

"I have good days...I have bad days. I make the best of the great days I have...the bad days I push myself...I just push myself," said Sirbas. "Kids is what it's all about, giving back and teaching. I always remember, it's not about me, it's about what I can do to help somebody else."

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