West Texas A&M’s Gabe Williams is more of a lead-by-example type of guy.
“I don’t say a lot of words,” Williams said. “But I like to think when I do, I say the right ones.”
Now in his sixth year in Canyon, Williams has emerged as the motor for the WT soccer team.
“In some ways over the years I think Gabe has kind of been the quiet heart and soul of the team,” head coach Butch Lauffer said. “The kid has gone through a lot.”
“I’ve had like a normal red shirt, medical red shirt and then kind of got what I think is a medical hardship,” Williams said.
After red shirting his freshman year, Williams started playing in his sophomore season but that changed only a few games into the season. While in the shower, Williams discovered a lump and immediately went to the doctor. It turned out to be testicular cancer.
“I didn’t know anything about cancer, I’d never seen it. It’d been in my family but I was so young I didn’t know anything about it.
So began the battle.
Fortunately, Williams found the growth early on and doctors were able to remove the cancerous mass. However, it had spread to his lymph nodes which meant Williams would have to undergo chemotherapy. While going through chemo, Williams developed a blood clot. All the while, his days of playing college soccer seemed to be fading away.
“Getting the chemo, I was in there, with the IV hooked up and I would just kind of like look out the window and part of me thought maybe it was all done.”
Even in those dark times, the people closest to Williams wouldn’t let that happen.
“Even if I wanted to people would not let me quit,” Williams said. “My mom was like you’re going to be on the field again. I promise you.”
So when the Buffs honored 10 seniors on senior day this past weekend, Gabe Williams went last. He was joined by his mother Angie because some moments are worth the wait.
“Part of me thought I wouldn’t have a senior day,” Williams said. “Just being able to share it with my mom who’s been one of my main supporters was kind of surreal you know.”
And set quite the example.