Shonda Brewer Schilling
understood what it took
to be a star pitcher’s wife.
Understanding a son with
Asperger’s Syndrome was
a whole new ballgame.
At the outset of her marriage, Shonda Brewer
Schilling ’91 expected to be a great wife and, in
time, a great mother. Maybe even perfect.
Based on her achievements thus far, it seemed
like a pretty safe bet.
Growing up in a Dundalk, Md., row house,
Schilling combined her love for team sports with a
rock-solid work ethic, qualities that propelled her
to Female Athlete of the Year honors at Dundalk
High. She worked her way through community
college, completed an internship at WJZ-TV, then
transferred to Towson in the late ’80s for a B.S.
degree in mass communication. Soon after graduating she landed a job as an associate producer
with Hometeam Sports, working Orioles, Capitals
and Bullets home games.
That fall she began dating O’s rookie pitcher
Curt Schilling, whom she’d met while she was
moonlighting at an athletic-shoe store. In 1992
Shonda Brewer married Schilling in the Dundalk
church she’d attended since second grade. It was,
she thought, the beginning of a charmed life with
the man of her dreams.
Then life began throwing curve balls.
Although she knew by now what to expect
as a ballplayer’s spouse, trades and subsequent
relocations could be stressful. (In addition to the
Orioles, Curt Schilling pitched for the Houston
Astros, Philadelphia Phillies, Arizona Diamondbacks and Boston Red Sox over the course
of his 20-year Major League Baseball career.)
“You may not be on the payroll,” she says of
her behind-the-scenes job, “but you’re the one
who takes care of everything that your husband
can’t do, be it packing or parenting.” With her
husband absent much of the year, she managed
to keep things running smoothly.
19 WINTER 2011 towson Shonda Schilling with son Grant
It was a rewarding life, but
not always an easy one. Moving
to a new city required enormous coordination and stamina,
initially to get settled, then to fit
in. The scrutiny brought to bear
on ballplayers and their loved ones
could turn intrusive. Veteran players’ wives were tough on newcomers, challenging rookie wives to earn
respect and acceptance. “Often there
was more hostility in the stands than in
the clubhouse,” Schilling notes.
Still, the Schillings were happy to help others
in their adopted communities, even if they didn’t
expect to be long-term residents. In Philadelphia
they became spokespersons for the ALS Association, which supports people with amyotrophic
lateral sclerosis, known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease in
honor of the legendary Yankees first baseman.
In 2001, shortly after moving to Arizona,
Schilling learned she had malignant melanoma. At
that point she and her husband were the parents
of three children: Gehrig, 6, Gabriela (“Gabby”),
4, and Grant, 2. “It was horrible,“ she recalls.
“I had five surgeries on my front and back, and
I was so busy holding everything together that I