Aaron Schoonmaker

Love of sport, loss of life

Posted April 13, 2014
Updated April 15, 2014

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

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • bonnieleebee Apr 16, 2014

    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, 2014

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

  • Jeanne Gunn Apr 14, 2014
    user avatar

    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, 2014

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

TV
  • ACTION: Dew Tour

    Saturday at 5:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • GOLF: Women's British Open

    Saturday at 11:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Haskell

    Sunday at 5:00 am on WRAL-TV

  • ACTION: Dew Tour

    Sunday at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • OLYMPICS: Kerri Walsh Special

    Sunday at 4:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • GOLF: Women's British Open

    Sunday at 11:00 pm on WRAL-TV

MLB Scoreboard
Interleague
Washington2Bot
5th
Cleveland0
 
San Diego5Bot
5th
Toronto0
 
Tampa Bay012:10 PT1:10 MT2:10 CT3:10 ET15:10 ET19:10 GMT3:10 12:10 MST2:10 EST2:40 VEN23:10 UAE2:10 CT
Preview
LA Dodgers0
 
Colorado 4:05 PT5:05 MT6:05 CT7:05 ET19:05 ET23:05 GMT7:05 4:05 MST6:05 EST6:35 VEN3:05 UAE (+1)6:05 CT
Preview
Baltimore 
 
Seattle 4:05 PT5:05 MT6:05 CT7:05 ET19:05 ET23:05 GMT7:05 4:05 MST6:05 EST6:35 VEN3:05 UAE (+1)6:05 CT
Preview
Pittsburgh 
 
Chi White Sox 5:05 PT6:05 MT7:05 CT8:05 ET20:05 ET0:05 GMT8:05 5:05 MST7:05 EST7:35 VEN4:05 UAE (+1)7:05 CT
Preview
Chi Cubs 
 
Atlanta 5:10 PT6:10 MT7:10 CT8:10 ET20:10 ET0:10 GMT8:10 5:10 MST7:10 EST7:40 VEN4:10 UAE (+1)7:10 CT
Preview
Minnesota 
American League
Detroit0Bot
1st
Boston0
 
Oakland 5:05 PT6:05 MT7:05 CT8:05 ET20:05 ET0:05 GMT8:05 5:05 MST7:05 EST7:35 VEN4:05 UAE (+1)7:05 CT
Preview
Texas 
 
NY Yankees 5:10 PT6:10 MT7:10 CT8:10 ET20:10 ET0:10 GMT8:10 5:10 MST7:10 EST7:40 VEN4:10 UAE (+1)7:10 CT
Preview
Houston 
 
LA Angels 5:15 PT6:15 MT7:15 CT8:15 ET20:15 ET0:15 GMT8:15 5:15 MST7:15 EST7:45 VEN4:15 UAE (+1)7:15 CT
Preview
Kansas City 
National League
Philadelphia0Bot
6th
Miami4
 
Cincinnati012:45 PT1:45 MT2:45 CT3:45 ET15:45 ET19:45 GMT3:45 12:45 MST2:45 EST3:15 VEN23:45 UAE2:45 CT
Preview
San Francisco0
 
St. Louis 4:10 PT5:10 MT6:10 CT7:10 ET19:10 ET23:10 GMT7:10 4:10 MST6:10 EST6:40 VEN3:10 UAE (+1)6:10 CT
Preview
NY Mets 
 
Arizona 5:10 PT6:10 MT7:10 CT8:10 ET20:10 ET0:10 GMT8:10 5:10 MST7:10 EST7:40 VEN4:10 UAE (+1)7:10 CT
Preview
Milwaukee 
 
Intl Crown (LPGA)
Japan: 24.5 | Thailand: 23.5
Foursomes - Day 2
MatchScore
Watanabe / 1 up
Clyburn / F (18)
 
Ewart Shadoff / 1 up
Cheng / F (18)
 
Kung / 2 and 1
Suzuki / F (17)
 
Ryu / 2 and 1
Thompson / F (17)
 
Kerr / 3 and 2
Reid / F (16)
 
Lewis / 3 and 2
Miyazato / F (16)
 
Nomura / 3 and 2
Yang / F (16)
 
Piller / 4 and 3
Tseng / F (15)
 
Lu / 4 and 3
Chun / F (15)
 
Kim / 5 and 4
Hull / F (14)
Four Balls - Day 2
MatchScore
Yang / Chun1 up
Lee / OhF (18)
 
Feng / Fenghalved
Kung / LuF (18)
 
Hull / Reid3 and 1
Jutanugarn / JutanugarnF (17)
 
Piller / Lewis3 and 1
Miyazato / NomuraF (17)
 
Kerr / Thompson4 and 2
Suzuki / WatanabeF (16)
 
Ryu / Kim3 and 2
Webb / ArtisF (16)
 
Yan / Lin5 and 4
Tseng / ChengF (14)
 
Ewart Shadoff / Clyburn7 and 5
Phatlum / ChutichaiF (13)
View Full Leaderboard
 
ATP Scoreboard
Wednesday, Jul. 27
Rogers Cup (ATP)
Second Round
(9) J. Isner63 77 4   
R. Harrison77 64 6   
(3) K. Nishikori6 7    
D. Novikov4 5    
R. Stepanek77 6    
P. Polansky65 4    
(13) L. Pouille4 65    
R. Ram6 77    
(12) B. Tomic6 0    
S. Diez3 0    
(1) N. Djokovic5     
G. Muller5     
(7) D. Goffin6 0    
S. Querrey4 0    
(6) D. Thiem 
K. Anderson 
F. Fognini 
J. Donaldson 
(8) M. Cilic 
I. Karlovic 
(16) J. Sock 
D. Young 
(10) G. Monfils 
V. Pospisil 
(4) M. Raonic 
Y. Lu 
G. Dimitrov 
D. Shapovalov 
 
WTA Scoreboard
Wednesday, Jul. 27
Rogers Cup (WTA)
Second Round
(14) K. Pliskova     
S. Errani     
(7) R. Vinci2 5    
C. Giorgi6 1    
(8) C. Suarez Nav6 1    
K. Kucova3 4    
(16) A. Pavlyuchen6 5    
C. McHale2 4    
(4) A. Radwanska6 3    
M. Niculescu1 3    
E. Svitolina 
F. Abanda 
(13) S. Stosur 
D. Kasatkina 
(6) V. Williams 
B. Strycova 
(10) M. Keys 
M. Brengle 
(15) J. Konta 
V. King 
(9) S. Kuznetsova 
A. Kudryavtse 
(11) D. Cibulkova 
E. Bouchard 
(12) P. Kvitova 
A. Petkovic 
(2) A. Kerber 
M. Lucic-Baro