'Madame' Wadsworth gone, but impact at Petaluma lives on

PETALUMA - The awards, yes, they could be condensed into just two sentences. But trying to capture Sarah Wadsworth in two sentences is like trying to capture an elephant with a butterfly net. Too much elephant for the net. Too much Wadsworth for the two sentences. But we have to begin somewhere, so let's begin with two short sentences.

Sarah Wadsworth is the 2012 Sonoma County League Tennis Coach of the Year. Sarah Wadsworth is the 2012 NCS Tennis Coach of the Year.

More than 10 months after her death.

More than a year after she coached the Petaluma girls.

Those two honors are tributes, of course, to Wadsworth, but they are scratches on the surface. They don't say why and how.

Morgan Intoschi is a junior who played for Wadsworth in the fall of 2011.

"She still is my role model," Intoschi said. "She still is someone I look up to."

Notice the verb tense Intoschi used. She spoke in the present tense, as if Wadsworth were going to walk into the room at any second and say, "Morgan, let me see your drop volley." Imagine how much an impact a person has to have on someone to be referred to like that. It's the etching of one personality upon another, a permanent inscription of sorts that can't be seen, only felt, somewhere near the soul.

"She was a force of nature," said sophomore Maddie Thomas.

The girls — Thomas, Intoschi and Nicoline Pedersen — spoke of Wadsworth that way. Wadsworth was always directed movement, doing something for someone, somewhere.

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