After being gone for a year, Army dad Sergeant Shelton Keith came home to surprise his 13-year-old daughter Kamri at her eighth grade night basketball game at Brusly Middle School.
Keith has been in the army since Kamri was two years old, and he has never been able to watch her play any of her school sports. Kamri had no idea she was going to see her dad for Christmas, so she definitely had no clue he would make it to her basketball game.
Kamri’s mom, Kim Spriggs said Kamri’s coach, Emily Naquin Domingue actually changed the night of the eighth grade night all so her dad could make it.
“The coach decided since we knew he wouldn’t be home for the initial eighth grade night for basketball- because its always the last home game- she decided to make eighth grade night the first home game for the girls just so he could experience eighth grade night. Because we know nine times out of ten he’ll miss eighth grade night for track and for softball,” Spriggs said.
Kamri comes from a big sports family with an uncle that played college basketball, another uncle that played college football, a mom who played college volleyball and a dad who ran track in college.
She has played sports since she was four years old, so the surprise of him making it to one of her games is all the more special.
Just like her parents, Kamri excels at sports, playing: volleyball, basketball, track and softball. With her favorite jersey number being ten.
Lately she has taken after her army dad and has turned to track.
“She is very fast in track and takes after him because he was very fast in track,” Spriggs said.
Track is not the only area where she resembles her dad.
He said, “She’s 100% me just made over in a females body. She’s pretty stand-off-ish. She doesn’t really like to display emotions until it becomes overwhelming.”
Spriggs described Kamri as “the life of the party,” but how hard it has been for her to be away from her dad as become evident lately.
One of her math teachers emailed Spriggs explaining how she just didn’t seem to be her usual self after her dad had to miss her eighth grade volleyball night.
“I think that email kind of helped prove to all of us that she is not okay, that she is not okay with her dad being away. She asked me twice yesterday ‘is my daddy coming home’ and I threw her off,” Spriggs said.
She also said, “She’ll tell her dad it’s okay, and I’ll tell him she says that because she doesn’t want you to be sad that you can’t make it, but deep down I know that she is not okay.”
With Keith being stationed in Hawaii, coming home to see Kamri is not easy time-wise or financially. He even has been back in Louisiana for training and could not see her.
“I’ve been to Louisiana twice and didn’t even get to see Kamri because I was only there to train,” Keith said.
As much as Kamri loves sports, she seems to love her dad even more.
“She actually had to chose between taking a break from softball this year and not playing softball this summer and going to her dad. So she chose to go to her dad, Spriggs said.
Kamri also loves Legos, the 49ers, the TV show “Wildin’ Out,” and of course her sisters, half-sisters and little half-brother.
“Kamri is literally like the life of everything. A lot of energy. She loves Legos. Me and her dad have to spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on lego sets,” Spriggs said.
After a year apart and missing the last holiday season, 27 days of time together will certainly be cherished by this 13-year-old athlete.
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