banner
Aaron Schoonmaker

Love of sport, loss of life

Posted April 13
Updated April 15

Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in downtown Raleigh, N.C. on April13, 2014. 12,500 runners made it to the capital city for a day of music and running. Paul Himberger won the men's marathon with a time of 2:38:57 and Heidi Bretscher won the women's marathon with 2:49:46. Both runners from Durham, N.C. (Chris Baird / WRAL Contributor).

— I was on a street corner in downtown Raleigh Sunday, cheering my wife on in the Rock ‘n Roll Marathon and Half-Marathon. I have done this for countless races in the past, each time rooting for a personal best, or in the worst case, a positive result out of her before we head to brunch.

Moments after spotting and encouraging her mid-race, an ambulance went racing through the intersection. The sights and sounds of urgency are unmistakable. While, not uncommon at many marathons, this one was different – the police officer stationed under the stoplight told me so.

In less than two hours, word had spread that not one, but two runners had died during the inaugural race in Raleigh. Each was in their 30’s and each had worked so hard for this day – if not just for themselves, for their friends, family and loved ones.

On Friday, a 12-year-old boy in Wilmington was hit in the head with a baseball and died.

Everybody deals with death differently. I am not trying to change how the healing process works. What I will say, is that I can find a little comfort in knowing that sometimes the most untimely of incidents can occur when the people are the happiest.

When Alex Newsome was tragically killed on the baseball field Friday, he was throwing batting practice to his teammates. Better said: playing around with his classmates.

Witnesses described to me Sunday that one of the two perished runners at the Raleigh race was pushing his wife to cross the finish line – undoubtedly a once-unthinkable personal goal she had been striving for. The other was in his final mile of the challenge he had taken on.

Life is not always fair. Life doesn’t come with an expiration date. But sometimes, the best way to know that people have accomplished what they were set on this earth to do, is when they go out doing what they love.

I lost my grandfather to cancer when he was far too young. I have had friends murdered and lost to suicide. My mother works at a funeral home and I find a certain solace in trying to make stories out of the dates on headstones.

The fact remains that nothing can replace the loss of a loved one. Questions of ‘why?’ ‘how?’ and ‘what next?’ will linger for a long time. That’s both natural and acceptable

With life comes death, but with life endless memories are also created.

I did not know the young pitcher who suffered an unthinkable injury Friday with a full life ahead of him. I did not know the two young men who didn’t cross the finish line Sunday on account of unforeseen circumstances.

We cannot dictate our fate. It would be unfair to do so. What we can all hope for is that those that are lost, go doing what they love.

4 Comments

This blogpost is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • bonnieleebee Apr 16, 10:55 a.m.

    Thank you for this piece. This is by far the best article about life and dealth, thank you Aaron! I ran the race on Sunday and it was my first half. I give thanks to God for giving me the strength to meet my goal. I have three children and one angel in heaven, I pray that they too have the strength and fearlessness to go after any goal. God bless these families and I pray they find peace in their hearts.

  • vt94hokies Apr 14, 4:37 p.m.

    A well written article. Saying prayers for the family members and loved ones of these two great people.

  • GunnyGoesArrrgh Apr 14, 1:53 p.m.

    The two runners and the little boy playing baseball may have all died doing what they love, and hopefully are in a better place, but the loved ones left behind are the ones who are really hurting. These young people died too soon, and my heart goes out to their loved ones. We never know when tragedy will strike, and if it teaches us anything, it should be that life is precious, and short.

  • Amomoftwo Apr 14, 6:43 a.m.

    Beautifully written for such a sad time.....prayers to all families involved in this tragic set of events.

  • NFL: Miami at Denver

    Today at 4:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CBB: NC State vs. South Florida

    Today at 4:00 pm on WRAL-FM

  • NFL: Washington at San Francisco

    Today at 4:15 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • NFL: Dallas at NY Giants

    Tonight at 8:30 on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
4:00pm Today
CREI
NCCU
 
4:00pm Today
NCSU
SFLA
6:00pm Tonight
MIA
CHA
6:00pm Tonight
MIA
CHA
6:00pm Tonight
MEM
LAC
6:00pm Tonight
BOS
POR
7:00pm Tonight
OKC
GSW
9:30pm Tonight
LAL
DEN
Final
GMAS 60
COC 61
 
2nd
FSU 57
UMASS 59
 
2nd
SHSU 51
WOFF 62
 
2nd
UNCG 60
YOUNG 65
 
2nd
CMICH 44
ARKPB 28
 
Half
ILLCH 21
SILL 35
 
1st
MORE 6
AMER 2
 
1st
CORN 10
DREX 5
 
2:00pm Today
CCST
COOK
2:00pm Today
ARKLR
CSNO
2:00pm Today
LEH
CLMB
 
2:00pm Today
USB
MERMAR
 
2:00pm Today
FAIR
SD
2:00pm Today
NMU
TEXAM
2:00pm Today
STLU
TAMCC
 
2:30pm Today
EMICH
LONG
2:30pm Today
ND
PROV
3:00pm Today
RAD
CATAWBA
 
3:00pm Today
DEN
COPST
 
3:00pm Today
UAB
JST
 
3:00pm Today
WICHS
NWM
3:00pm Today
OKLA
NWST
3:30pm Today
PSU
USC
3:30pm Today
KSU
YALE
4:00pm Today
CREI
NCCU
 
4:00pm Today
NCSU
SFLA
4:00pm Today
UCR
STKAT
 
4:05pm Today
HC
NICHOLSCOL
 
4:30pm Today
BC
DAY
4:30pm Today
MON
TOWS
4:30pm Today
SAMF
UMKC
4:30pm Today
HOF
WAGN
 
5:00pm Tonight
CIN
EILL
5:00pm Tonight
UGA
FATL
5:00pm Tonight
BRAD
NCAT
 
5:00pm Tonight
LATU
PBY
5:00pm Tonight
RUTG
Terriers
 
5:30pm Tonight
NAVY
BING
6:00pm Tonight
SHU
GWEBB
6:00pm Tonight
UNT
IONA
6:00pm Tonight
KENT
MNTST
6:00pm Tonight
FORD
MLOWELL
 
6:00pm Tonight
UCF
USCU
 
6:30pm Tonight
SCAR
AKR
6:30pm Tonight
WVU
UCONN
7:00pm Tonight
CALST
DEL
 
7:00pm Tonight
HOW
HOOD
 
7:00pm Tonight
OSU
SHU
7:00pm Tonight
VANDY
TENST
8:00pm Tonight
NE
MAN
8:00pm Tonight
COLST
MERC
8:00pm Tonight
MISS
NARZ
8:00pm Tonight
WASH
PAC
8:00pm Tonight
LMU
SDCHR
 
9:00pm Tonight
CHAR
MIAMI
9:00pm Tonight
ILLST
ODU
9:00pm Tonight
GAELS
UCI
10:00pm Tonight
UCLA
LBSU
10:30pm Tonight
SEAT
MONT
 
4:30pm Today
WIN
STL
7:00pm Tonight
NYR
MON
8:00pm Tonight
ANA
ARI
9:30pm Tonight
VAN
CHI
2nd
HOU 0
CIN 7
 
2nd
ATL 7
CLE 7
 
2nd
NEP 7
DET 6
 
2nd
MIN 0
GBP 7
 
2nd
IND 3
JAC 3
 
2nd
CHI 0
TAM 7
 
1st
PHI 17
TEN 0
 
4:05pm Today
SEA
ARI
4:05pm Today
SDC
STL
4:25pm Today
DEN
MIA
4:25pm Today
SFX
WAS
8:30pm Tonight
NYG
DAL