Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Glatter Pays Tribute To Mother

By Brian Rosenthal

Peyton Glatter grew up respecting her mother’s opinion. She greatly valued her input on all matters, big and small. Seldom would they disagree or butt heads.

“She was my best friend,” Glatter said. “We got along very well.”

Especially when it came to softball.

Nicki Urban, before she married Ryan Glatter, grew up in Osceola and played softball at Midland Lutheran College (now Midland University), and broke “a ton of hitting records” there, Glatter said.

Peyton picked up her mother’s strong working habits. She learned the values of respect and loyalty from her mother. She, too, became an accomplished softball player.

That’s why Glatter treasured every moment of her recruiting visit to Nebraska on Aug. 5, 2014. Nicki, sick from her battle with cervical cancer, had been unable to make so many other recruiting visits, but made the trip to Lincoln that day.

“To see her input on it and getting to meet the coaches and everything,” Glatter said, 'it all kind of set into place right away.”

So Glatter, merely a freshman at Millard South High School, committed that day. Nicki was pleased, happy to see her daughter fulfill her dream, comforted to know she would be in good hands of coach Rhonda Revelle and her staff.

“You could see a mom working very hard,” Revelle said, “to make sure her family was taken care of.”

Four months later, on Dec. 9, 2014, Nicki Glatter lost her long fought battle with cancer. She was 42.

“She was one of the strongest people I’ve ever met. I was lucky enough to have her for the 14 years that I did,” Glatter said, wiping away tears.

“One of the biggest things that stuck with me from her is that people don’t remember what you said or what you did but they always remember how you made them feel. I’ve kind of just taken that with me ever since she’s passed.”

Glatter, who had the game-winning hit in Nebraska’s series-clinching victory against Illinois on Sunday, will wear a teal ribbon in memory of her mother Tuesday, when the Huskers host South Dakota State in their annual Pink Game. Players from both teams will be wearing pink as part of cancer awareness.

“It’s nice when things like that get recognized,” said Glatter, who will have several family members, her father and grandparents included, at the game.

The Glatter family also founded the Nicki G Foundation, which holds an annual softball tournament and ceremony in Omaha. It awards a $1,000 scholarship to a local club softball player in Nicki’s memory.

“She was someone who always brought people together,” Glatter said of her mother. “All of our family was together every Sunday. The door was always open.”

Revelle remembers meeting Nicki on the recruiting visit, and remembers a sick but determined mother.

“I remember her being very strong and very intent on doing what a mother would do to get everything set up in proper order to take care of her family,” Revelle said, “right down to the very last minute.”

To assist in that regard, Revelle and her staff intentionally sped up the recruiting process for Glatter so that her mother would be able to see her commit.

“Early recruiting had started by then, but we said that we’re going to make sure her mom knew we were going to take care of Peyton,” Revelle said. “So we decided that we were going to make that offer when we knew she could be here and be available. It was probably a little sooner than we would have otherwise. We still would’ve made the decision, but we just sped up the timeline.”

Nicki initially received a stage-four diagnosis when Peyton was in seventh grade.

“She knew something was wrong but doctors didn’t catch it right away,” Glatter said. “She was determined to fight it.”

Nicki did have a period of remission, but when a check-up revealed the cancer had returned, doctors gave her a year to live.

“She lasted shorter than we expected,” Glatter said.

Together, they made the most of that remaining time.

“She fought hard,” Glatter said. “She had her days when it was totally normal. It was kind of weird because those days we’d go out and do normal things like we used to. We’d go get our nails done, go shopping. There would just be days where everything was normal. It makes you not take for granted the good days.”

Softball helps Glatter navigate the rough times.

“It’s just an escape,” she said. “If I have a bad day, I just go hit. She taught me a lot through softball throughout the years. It’s something to give back to, to remember her.”

When Glatter hit a go-ahead home run in the fifth inning of a state tournament game her junior season, she said she could feel her mother’s presence.

Because of what Glatter has experienced, Revelle sees a college freshman who is “mature beyond her years.”

That, she said, creates a perspective many players her age don’t have. As a result, Glatter is already showing signs of being a team leader, Revelle said, even though she’s only a freshman.

“I don’t know if this is in her DNA or if this was also forged by dealing with her mother’s death, but she really takes advantage of every day, and she works really hard. There’s just no backing off and no excuses," Revelle said.

“To have a young person, as a freshman, with that much knowledge of, ‘I’m going to have earn everything I get, nothing’s going to be given to me and if I want it, I’m going to work for it,' is impressive. A lot of them get to that place, but not many walk in with that in them.”

Reach Brian at brosenthal@huskers.com or follow him on Twitter @GBRosenthal.

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