Those fans who followed this year’s College World Series likely became familiar with the story of Micah Ahern. The 7-year-old boy from Arlington was not only the TCU Horned Frogs’ biggest supporter, but he also was an adopted member of the team complete with his own locker inside the TCU clubhouse at Lupton Stadium.
Nicknamed “Superhero Micah” for the way he courageously battled cancer — a fight that included more than 10 operations since 2010, Ahern died Thursday.
“Micah is no longer suffering,” Ahern’s father Maurice posted on social media. “He is healed and whole. I praise God for that. Now we all are left here to mourn the loss of The Great Superhero.”
Ahern’s life may have been short, but his life was not short of once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
Paired with TCU in 2013 through Team IMPACT, an organization aimed at improving the quality of life for children with life-threatening or chronic illnesses, Ahern two years ago signed a National Letter of Intent with the Horned Frogs baseball team and was part of the most successful seasons in program history, including three consecutive College World Series appearances.
TCU players and coaches honored Ahern during the 2016 season and all the way through the Horned Frogs’ trip to Omaha in June by wearing an “M” logo on their caps and T-shirts. Catcher Evan Skoug often wrote “Micah” on the tape covering his right wrist and forearm.
Even though his cancer had progressed to the point where his parents decided to end certain treatments, Ahern still managed to travel with his family to Omaha and was in attendance June 21 when TCU defeated eventual champion Coastal Carolina, 6-1.
The Horned Frogs baseball team and TCU community provided Ahern and his family a needed sense of belonging, and in return, Ahern gave everyone the even greater gift of perspective.
With no guarantees of a tomorrow, even the smallest victories were celebrated by Ahern and his family. They welcomed the ordinary because so few days were. And when faced with the intense pain during the most difficult times, Ahern, on so many occasions, somehow found the inner strength to overcome it and persevere.
Even though Ahern will no longer be physically present in TCU’s home dugout, the general positivity surrounding him along with his fighting spirit will benefit the youthful Horned Frogs in ways they may never even realize, both on the field and off.
But the perspective Ahern left everyone goes beyond baseball.
Few things melt through the cynicism of the adult world like the innocence of a child. Ahern’s infectious smile, superhero cape and pose reminded all who followed his story that, even in struggle, life is precious and beautiful.
And while, sadly, stories of wrongdoing and physical abuse dot the sports pages on a regular basis, Ahern’s relationship with the TCU baseball program exemplified everything that is right and good with sports.
As the Ahern family mourns the loss of their Great Superhero, they can take solace in knowing that their 7-year-old son had one of the most amazing superpowers of all: the ability to warm the hearts of all people, even those whom he never even met.
“Heaven gained a true superhero today,” Kevin Cron, a TCU alum and first baseman in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization, wrote in a tweet Thursday. “Micah, you taught us so much about what it means to (never ever give up). RIP buddy, you will always be my hero.”
The TCU baseball program in June announced a group of donors joined together to establish a scholarship in Micah Ahern’s name, which will be given annually to a student-athlete who “embraces the notion to never ever give up.” For more information or to make a contribution, call 817-257-7700.