Warren Cormier sat in the same place at every Andover High home girls basketball game.
His daughter, junior point guard Rachael Cormier, still occasionally peeks over to that spot in the stands.
“He’d sit right in the middle of the bleachers, first row down in front,” Cormier said. “One, because he did not have good eyesight. But two, so he’d be able to communicate with me while I was on the court.
“So now, sometimes I forget during the game that he’s not there and I look for him and I realize he’s not.”
Warren Cormier died of a massive heart attack on Aug. 27.
He was the main reason his daughter feels so passionate for basketball, or at least she did.
“Truthfully, without my dad, I kind of lost a lot of the love I have for basketball,” Rachael said. “Every game is really hard for me. But I have some of the best friends I have ever had on my team. They just do everything with me. So just knowing that I have that support system, it’s really helpful.”
Rachael keeps her dad’s Mass card in the pocket of her basketball bag. She also has a good cry before every game.
But through her pain, she has shown amazing strength. She has acted stronger than most could ever imagine. She gets up every morning and continues to live in the way her father taught her and the way that would make him proud.
First-year Andover girls basketball coach E.J. Perry attended Warren Cormier’s funeral and witnessed his daughter’s vibrant personality through such a difficult situation.
Perry said Rachael handled her father’s death with dignity and poise.
“I can’t believe she’s always smiling and I think about how much of an impact her dad had on her basketball life and also on her life,” Perry said. “She’s amazing to watch.”