BANGOR – It was time for Luis Ayala to step away.
“20 years, it’s been great. I’ve enjoyed every moment of it and I didn’t think I was going to do it but this kind of pushed it the way I’ve been sitting here relaxing,” Ayala said
With over a hundred wins, several state championships, a Maine wrestling hall of fame plaque and US Cellular Most Valuable Coach honor to his name, Ayala made his mark on the Foxcroft boys soccer and wrestling programs.
“As you ponder in writing my letter of resignation that’s what came to my mind all those years the memories. It’s not easy,” Ayala said.
He added the daily coaching grind started to become too much, but family was the ultimate factor.
“My wife got bit by a spider and all of a sudden her everything came all these symptoms all these things we didn’t know what was going on until we went to the v-a hospital we were veterans and then they started looking at things in a different way,” Ayala said.
Ayala’s wife, Angela, was recently diagnosed with Gulf War syndrome, a disease causing her fatigue among other chronic issues, which have been amplified during the pandemic as she hasn’t been able to see the doctor during the pandemic.
“But then sometimes when you think you have everything managed it just hits her and it’s just that tingling feeling all over her and numbness migraine headaches that paralyzes her she can’t do anything,” Ayala said.
Angela and Luis met in the military and were both medics deployed to Kuwait during the Gulf War.
“We were there seven days straight for four months you know me and her the next vehicle was 50 miles to our right left and the front line tankers and we spent a lot of time together so we were either going to hate each other or love each other,” Ayala said with a smile.
The 30 year bond is exactly why Ayala hung up the whistle. To be there for Angela, just as the two of them were for each other in the desert.
“We went through the highway of death where things happen and you see old vehicle burned down and maybe burned corpses around,” Ayala said.
“We can relate and we can talk to each other about those things and I know for a lot of people and friends we know they have nobody that went through this they’re alone.”