Crim: Lunt family closes chapter after two decades spent watching kids compete for QND


Members of the Lunt family — from left, Zachary, Sharon, David, Meghan and Nathan — pose for a photo after one of Noah’s football games last fall at Quincy Notre Dame. | Submitted photo

QUINCY — Quincy Notre Dame had just seen its baseball season end with a 3-1 loss to Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin in the Class 2A regional semifinals.

As the crowd began to disperse, with some fans celebrating and others consoling, David and Sharon Lunt loaded their lawn chairs and other items into a little wagon and began making their way to their vehicle.

It wasn’t a walk they were looking forward to.

“I can remember grabbing her hand and walking across the parking lot and saying, ‘That’s it. It’s over,’ ” David said. “She goes, ‘Well, you know, we got grandkids coming.’ ”

The loss to Sacred Heart-Griffin closed out more than a season. It also marked the end of a 20-year journey that gave David and Sharon the opportunity to watch the youngest six of their eight children compete in athletics at QND.

Nathan played basketball and baseball. Zachary, Mathias and Rachel all ran cross country. Esther was a volleyball player. Football and basketball were the primary sports for Noah, then he opted to return to baseball this spring after a three-year hiatus as a senior.

Now they wait until the next generation reaches high school age.

“It was bittersweet,” David admitted. “It was nice to have a child that you could cheer for.”

David, project manager for A.H. Kemner & Sons Painting & Decorating, has always been a sports fan, particularly of the high school variety.

He played football and basketball at Palmyra (Mo.) High School and was a starting lineman on the 1981 football team that reached the state semifinals. He also played American Legion baseball during the summer and spent one season as a catcher at Culver-Stockton College before he and Sharon got married, moved away and then came to Quincy, her hometown.

Sharon graduated from QND, where her cousin, Caren Kemner, starred in multiple sports before reaching Olympic volleyball fame. David said he heard many stories about Quincy sports from Caren’s father, Alex Kemner, and QND soon became his school in the early 1990s.

“I like high school sports better than most anything,” he said. “I’d rather go watch a high school game than sit down and watch a pro game on television, just to go out there and see the atmosphere and the kids.

“So, I was like, ‘You know, I’m just gonna go out to 10th and Jackson.’ I picked it because it was Sharon’s school, not for any other reason than that.”

The Lunt siblings gather for a photo after one of Noah Lunt’s football games on the road last season. In the front row, from left, are Mathias, Esther and Rachel Lunt. In the back row, from left, are Zachary’s wife Alaina, Zachary, Noah and Nathan. | Submitted photo

David and Sharon homeschooled their kids, beginning with Meghan and Joshua. Nathan tagged along with his dad to QND games and played in both the CYO and YMCA youth leagues. He wanted to play sports when he reached high school age in 2004, so the family enrolled him at QND.

“We didn’t send them out there necessarily because of athletics, but athletics found them,” David said.

Zachary followed three years later, and then-coach Andy Edgar convinced him to give cross country a try. Mathias and Rachel followed in his footsteps.

“I had like 10 straight years of cross country,” David said. “For the first year I was completely lost about what a parent was supposed to do because I’d always been around ball sports. Cross country was a different animal, learning where to stand and finding the best places to watch.

“Rachel ended up with a fourth-place medal at one of her meets as a sophomore and she was just so excited. The two boys ran their personal best times in the last cross country race of their high school careers in the sectionals. How many kids can say they did the best they ever did in their last athletic event?”

The nuances of volleyball were much easier with Esther, having spent countless hours watching Caren Kemner perform on the world stage.

The Lunts doubled their pleasure the last three years. Not only could they cheer on Noah either on the court or on the field, they also could watch Nathan coach the QND freshman basketball team, then the junior varsity.

David often had a front row seat, serving as scorekeeper for road basketball games. Sharon, meanwhile, could be found knitting or crocheting as the action unfolded in front of her.

“She gets stressed out by the game,” David explained. “As a mother, you know, she gets into it. So, she distracts herself with the knitting and crocheting. You’d be surprised, though. She catches a lot more (of the game) than you would think.”

There was a special family moment last winter when QND played Pittsfield in Voshall Gym.

“At halftime of the JV game, the varsity goes out and shoots a little bit,” David said. “I’m sitting at the scorer’s table. So, Noah goes out and shoots. As he’s walking off, he goes by the JV bench and he and Nathan hug each other.

“Nathan’s 34 — he’ll be 35 this year — and Noah is 18. Noah was 2 years old when Nathan was playing as a senior. He’s been going to Notre Dame games since he was born. I got to witness two brothers that still care that much about each other. Those are the kind of things you remember.”

David admits it will be different when football season rolls around in the fall. He may even give up his north end zone seat so another parent can see the action up close.

“I was strictly a fan before and I can be a fan again,” he said. “It’s more stressful, I guess, watching your own kids play because you want them to succeed. Everybody wants their kids to be the greatest … to be the kid the papers write about or Channel 7 or Channel 10 talk about.

“But in life, not everybody is the star. I’ve always tried to remind them that they had a role, whatever that role was, and to embrace that.”

The last 20 years have also taught him how to put athletics in perspective.

“We have been blessed with a large family and we’ve got to do this multiple times,” he said. “I’m a better parent-fan because I learned to appreciate the small moments, you know, when a kid does something they’ve never tried before or executes a play they’ve been working on.

“Sometimes, we as parents get too caught up in the wins and losses and all those other things and don’t realize or appreciate the fact that you’re going to a game and watching your kids play and they’re having fun. 

“The most important thing is they’re having fun.”

So have David and Sharon Lunt, cheering on their kids.

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