Marosszeky Fills Big Sister Role for Long-Time Friend Hurst
KENT, Ohio - While Elaine Hurst isn't a soccer recruit and won't
suit up for Kent State this year, she still had an opportunity to
be a part of the women's soccer team.
Hurst recently made the six-hour trek from Toronto, Canada to Kent to visit KSU senior defender Catherine Marosszeky and see her "big sister" play for the Golden Flashes' soccer team.
During the visit, Hurst was able to practice with the team in the pool; however, that wasn't the best present she received that weekend. Following the soccer team's 1-0 win over Miami on Sept. 27, the entire team serenaded Elaine with a rendition of the "happy birthday song."
"It's a small thing to sing happy birthday to someone, but they made it a huge thing because she was over the moon after that," Marosszeky said of Hurst. "I don't think her birthday could've gotten any better. I don't know that my teammates even know that, but their act of kindness really had a huge impact on her day."
It is just one of the many memorable moments that Hurst and Marosszeky have shared over the years. The two were brought together by fate when the Marosszeky family moved to Toronto in 1993. Catharine's parents started working at L'arche Daybreak, a community in Toronto that assists adults with disabilities, and Elaine's parents worked there as well. The co-workers quickly became the best of friends.
While Marosszeky and Hurst were already close, the relationship really blossomed over the course of three summers when Marosszeky was in high school. The Hursts were looking for somebody to hang out with Elaine, who has Down syndrome, which is a cognitive disorder that hinders brain development and can cause mental retardation.
"They (Elaine's parents) didn't want someone to babysit," Marosszeky said. "They just wanted someone to hang out with her. She could enjoy the things that all the kids enjoy in the summer. I think that's why we got to be so close. We were doing things typical teenagers would do together."
While both have two other siblings, Marosszeky and Hurst developed a sisterly bond over those three summers.
"Most of the time, she'll call me her sister, I'll call her my sister. It's just easier to explain it to people because that is the type of relationship that we have," Marosszeky said. "It's a very deep friendship. Something I don't know if I could ever put a label on it, to be honest, just because it's so much different from any relationship that I have with anybody else. I don't know if there is a word for it, but it's special. That's for sure."
During those summers, the pair would spend all day together volunteering to read books to children and helping at the local library, while doing other social activities as well.
"We tried to do things that pushed her limits, but also opened up new experiences for her growth," Marosszeky added. "Everyone who works with her falls in love with her because she's just such an amazing spirit. She has that personality that people are just drawn to."
However, Hurst wasn't the only one that benefitted from the relationship. She also taught Marosszeky several things.
"She taught me, among other things, just not to sweat the small stuff. To be grateful for things that you might take for granted on a given day," Marosszeky said. "She was really able to ground me, and make me see that those little things, those little stressors in life, aren't as important as they may seem. At the end of the day, it's being grateful for what you have and always find the good in things because she can always find the good in everything she does."
Marosszeky has carried the off-the-field lessons on to the field with her, and it has paid dividends for her career at Kent State. In her four seasons, she has scored 16 goals and earned numerous Mid-American Conference honors, including being named to the All-MAC freshman team in 2005 and the Second Team All-MAC in both 2007 and 2008.
Hurst's athletic achievements are equally as impressive. She is a member of the Canadian Special Olympics swim team, and she helped the Youth Canada team win the Bocci world championships in Italy.
"We're both competitive," Marosszeky said. "Once we start something, it takes a lot to push us off track. I think that's something that we both see in each other and why we get along and why we could spend so many hours together."
Marosszeky is hoping that the Flashes don't get derailed en route to the team's goal of winning a MAC Championship this season.
"It's definitely an experience that is just unforgettable," Marosszeky said of her senior season. "We have a great focus, a great drive going for us. We definitely plan on going far in the tournament."
Catharine is also hoping Elaine has one more opportunity to see her play for Kent State. While Hurst may not be able to make it back for Senior Day against Akron on Oct. 25, there is a chance she'd get to see the Golden Flashes in the MAC Tournament, and that could be a bad thing for future opponents.
"When she comes, it gives me that extra kind of burst of adrenaline," Marosszeky said. "She's my number one fan. It's really nice to have someone that I know I don't have to impress because she'll always be cheering for me. It almost makes me play better because I'm not worried about screwing up because I know she's not worried about me screwing up."
Regardless of whether the Flashes win, Marosszeky and Hurst will still be there to support each other.
And that's a gift everybody can appreciate.