Love of sport, loss of life
Posted April 13
Updated April 15
Raleigh, N.C. — 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.