It was a triumphant return for Mansfield Head Football Coach Daniel Maberry when he returned to the football field a couple of weeks ago.
It was a long time coming for both players and coach after Maberry was forced to sit out the 2018 season while undergoing cancer treatment.
Maberry was first diagnosed with stage four non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in January 2018.
After a fast and hard fight, he, his wife and two daughters celebrated when doctors declared him cancer free.
"I've had several gut punches is what my wife and I call them. It's definitely been a roller coaster ride," said Maberry.
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Thankfully, that ride brought his return with the 2019 season. Maberry eased back in with practice before surprising the team by showing up for the September 13 game against Mansfield Legacy.
"That was one of the hardest moments I've ever had, so to be able to come back two weeks ago to be on the sidelines with the kids and the coaches and to be able to do the thing that I love was an unbelievable experience," said Maberry.
He led the Tigers to a win and celebrated by receiving the game ball.
Then, he was back on the field the following week. But one week after that, he's once again unsure what the future will hold as he prepares for a Friday radiation treatment that could keep him off the sidelines once again.
Even if it doesn't, he says that time will come as he undergoes CAR T-cell therapy in the coming weeks. The treatment takes a patient's T cells and changes them, so they can attack cancer cells.
"In that aspect, I'm very hopeful. My mind is in a good spot. I believe that God's going to beat it, so that's where we're going from here," said Maberry.
In the meantime, he'll fight to be with his team.
"There's going to come a point where I won't be able to be on the sideline at all, and I know that. But the thing I've learned from this is that no matter what happens, I've got to be able to find my joy. And right now if I can be on the field with the kids on the sidelines and help win a football game, that's where I'm going to find my joy," said Maberry.
Whether on the field or off, Mansfield has stood behind the coach who's been with the district for two decades. A GoFundMe organized for his family last year raised 85,000.