As I’m writing this, we have just celebrated Steel’s graduation from Pacific University in Oregon. It seems like a lifetime ago that he was walking across the stage at Central Catholic High School just 4 years earlier. I don’t remember much about that day (other than crying when they played “In My Life” by the Beatles prior to the ceremony) but I’ll never forget what happened once Steel received his diploma. (Or fake diploma as it were.) Steel had broken his foot during Spring Break while visiting his sister at Chico State. Although the story of how the injury occurred has changed over the years, the fact of the matter was his injury was severe enough to require surgery about 6 weeks before graduation. (A Lisfranc repair conducted by Dr. Lenita Williamson.)
The day before graduation, Doc Williamson told Steel she wanted him to start bearing weight on his foot. After being on crutches for so long, Steel was apprehensive about the pain and didn’t give up the crutches easily. However, that all changed once he walked across the stage. Immediately after receiving his diploma and moving his tassel from one side to the other, Steel tossed his crutches and walked (for the first time in a long time) down the ramp.
Doc Williamson was watching the commencement from behind the bleachers (as she always did.) She smiled and thought that Steel looked like he was doing a “pimp walk” but was proud of him none-the-less. Look closely at the photograph and you’ll see the top of the crutches in the bottom, right side of the image.