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Mustang finds comfort on court

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While on the court with the Delta College volleyball team, setter Shaylynn Beam can block out the concerns of her private life, including the health of her father, Ben, who is battling leukemia.

Craig Sanders/The Record


By Scott Linesburgh

November 30, 2013

Record Staff Writer

November 30, 2013 12:00 AM

STOCKTON - The volleyball court has been a place for Shaylynn Beam to put aside her concerns about life and concentrate on becoming a better player and helping the Delta College women's volleyball team succeed.

For more than two years, her father, Delta instructor Ben Beam, has been battling leukemia. Shaylynn and her family have dealt with the stress of his illness, and she has pitched in to help more on the Beam's sheep ranch in Escalon. She also carries a full load of classes and hasn't missed a practice or match in her two seasons at Delta.

Shaylynn will be on the court at 7 p.m. today at Marcopulos Gymnasium, when the No. 4 Mustangs (20-5) host No. 5 Foothill (19-7) in the second round California Community College Athletic Association Northern California Regionals. Shaylynn said her father, who watches her play when he can, plans to be in the stands.


"He was able to be there on Tuesday (when Delta beat Solano), and I'm sure he's coming to this one," Shaylynn Beam said. "It's so great when he can show up and watch me play."

Delta is in the playoffs after missing them last season, but volleyball has been more important to Shaylynn than just winning, as she has heeded the advice of Delta coach Molly Mordaunt.

"Molly always tells us, 'Leave the drama and leave the school work outside. When you are in here, go hard for two-and-a-half hours and forget about everything else,' " Beam said. "And it really helps me because I am able to forget everything else and concentrate on what I am doing. It's a really good outlet for me."

Ben Beam, who teaches animal science at Delta, was diagnosed with leukemia in 2011. He has been through chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant, and after taking some time off continues to teach at Delta.

"Ben didn't want his illness to affect what we do as a family," said Terri Beam, Shaylynn's mother. "He wanted things to go as routinely as possible."

The Beams have about 45 sheep on their ranch, and Shaylynn and her siblings - Casey, 24, Andrew, 25, and Lacey, 31 - have taken up more chores.

"I get up an hour earlier to feed the sheep before I go to school, and we all pitch in," Shaylynn Beam said. "There's been a lot of ups and downs, but we've dealt with it as a family."

Mordaunt said Shaylynn Beam, who attended Escalon High, is a private person. At a recent practice before Thanksgiving, when players took turns saying what they were thankful for, Shaylynn said she was thankful for her family, her "other family" at Delta and that she could spend the holiday with her father.

"Some of the girls didn't know he had been sick. Shaylynn hasn't discussed it much," Mordaunt said. "But she's a very strong person, and that's a very strong family. Despite everything they've been through, she hasn't missed a practice, hasn't missed a set. She loves the game and is very dedicated."

And she and the rest of the Mustangs are having fun, especially after not making the postseason in 2012. Delta is two wins away from making the state tournament.

"I think we're a very good team and have a good chance of making it," Shaylynn Beam said. "I'm happy my father has been able to share it with me."








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