banner
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 to add a 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

    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.

  • PGA: AT&T Byron Nelson Championship

    Saturday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NASL: RailHawks at Jacksonville

    Saturday at 7:30 pm on WRAL-2

  • PGA: AT&T Byron Nelson Championship

    Sunday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • MiLB: Bulls vs. Rochester

    Today at 12:50 pm on Buzz Sports Radio

  • NBA: Houston at Golden State

    Tonight at 9:00 on 99.9 The Fan

  • MiLB: Bulls vs. Syracuse

    Friday at 6:50 pm on Buzz Sports Radio

  • NBA: Golden State at Houston

    Friday at 9:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
Final
ROC 1
DUR 2
 
1:05pm Today
ROC
DUR
 
2:30pm Friday
STONYBROOK
NCSTATE
 
7:05pm Friday
SYR
DUR
 
6:35pm Saturday
SYR
DUR
 
5:05pm Sunday
SYR
DUR
 
Final
HOU 4
BAL 1
Final
KAN 1
NYY 5
Final
MIA 1
PIT 5
Final
WAS 2
CHC 3
Final
CWS 9
TOR 10
Final
COL 1
CIN 2
Final
PHI 4
NYM 5
Final
SEA 7
TAM 6
Final
TEX 4
CLE 3
Final
BOS 1
MIN 2
Final
SFG 6
MIL 3
Final
ARI 4
STL 6
Final
DET 1
OAK 0
Final
SDP 4
ANA 0
Final
ATL 0
LOS 8
12:10pm Today
TEX
CLE
 
12:35pm Today
COL
CIN
 
12:35pm Today
MIA
PIT
 
12:37pm Today
CWS
TOR
 
1:05pm Today
KAN
NYY
 
1:10pm Today
BOS
MIN
 
1:10pm Today
PHI
NYM
 
1:10pm Today
SEA
TAM
 
1:40pm Today
SFG
MIL
 
3:35pm Today
DET
OAK
 
4:35pm Today
HOU
BAL
 
8:05pm Tonight
WAS
CHC
 
8:15pm Tonight
ARI
STL
 
10:05pm Tonight
SDP
ANA
 
10:10pm Tonight
ATL
LOS
 
1:05pm Thursday
CWS
BAL
 
4:35pm Thursday
CWS
BAL
 
8:05pm Thursday
BOS
TEX
 
10:05pm Thursday
DET
ANA
 
10:05pm Thursday
NYY
OAK
 
10:10pm Thursday
CLE
SEA
 
10:10pm Thursday
PIT
SDP
 
10:15pm Thursday
ATL
SFG
 
4:05pm Friday
KAN
CHC
 
7:05pm Friday
COL
PHI
 
7:05pm Friday
TAM
BAL
 
7:10pm Friday
MIA
NYM
 
7:10pm Friday
WAS
CIN
 
8:05pm Friday
BOS
TEX
 
8:10pm Friday
ARI
MIL
 
8:10pm Friday
CWS
HOU
 
8:10pm Friday
TOR
MIN
 
8:15pm Friday
LOS
STL
 
10:05pm Friday
DET
ANA
 
10:05pm Friday
NYY
OAK
 
10:10pm Friday
CLE
SEA
 
10:10pm Friday
PIT
SDP
 
10:15pm Friday
ATL
SFG
 
2:10pm Saturday
TOR
MIN
 
3:05pm Saturday
COL
PHI
 
4:05pm Saturday
TAM
BAL
 
4:10pm Saturday
ARI
MIL
 
4:10pm Saturday
CWS
HOU
 
4:10pm Saturday
MIA
NYM
 
4:10pm Saturday
WAS
CIN
 
7:15pm Saturday
BOS
TEX
 
7:15pm Saturday
KAN
CHC
 
7:15pm Saturday
LOS
STL
 
10:05pm Saturday
ATL
SFG
 
10:05pm Saturday
DET
ANA
 
10:05pm Saturday
NYY
OAK
 
10:10pm Saturday
CLE
SEA
 
10:10pm Saturday
PIT
SDP
 
1:10pm Sunday
MIA
NYM
 
1:10pm Sunday
WAS
CIN
 
1:35pm Sunday
COL
PHI
 
1:35pm Sunday
TAM
BAL
 
2:10pm Sunday
ARI
MIL
 
2:10pm Sunday
CWS
HOU
 
2:10pm Sunday
TOR
MIN
 
2:15pm Sunday
LOS
STL
 
2:20pm Sunday
KAN
CHC
 
3:05pm Sunday
BOS
TEX
 
4:05pm Sunday
ATL
SFG
 
4:05pm Sunday
NYY
OAK
 
4:10pm Sunday
CLE
SEA
 
8:05pm Sunday
DET
ANA
 
9:10pm Sunday
PIT
SDP
 
Final
ATL 88
CLE 118
9:00pm Tonight
HOU
GSW
 
9:00pm Friday
GSW
HOU
 
9:00pm Sunday
HOU
GSW
 
Final
NYR 7
TAM 3
8:00pm Tonight
ANA
CHI
 
8:00pm Friday
TAM
NYR
 
8:00pm Saturday
CHI
ANA
 
12:00pm Friday
AUBURN
CHARLESTON
 
1:00pm Friday
CALIFORNIA
CCAROLINA
 
1:00pm Friday
COLUMBIA
ECAROLINA
 
1:00pm Friday
ORALROBRTS
ARKANSAS
 
1:00pm Friday
OREGON
IOWA
 
1:00pm Friday
SFLORIDA
FAU
 
1:00pm Friday
WRIGHTST
NOTREDAME
 
2:00pm Friday
MICHIGAN
BRADLEY
 
2:30pm Friday
STONYBROOK
NCSTATE
 
2:30pm Friday
TEXAS
OREGONST
 
3:00pm Friday
INDIANA
RADFORD
 
3:30pm Friday
ULLAFAYETE
RICE
 
4:00pm Friday
LEHIGH
LSU
 
6:00pm Friday
CANISIUS
SWMISSOURI
 
6:00pm Friday
CLEMSON
ARIZONAST
 
6:00pm Friday
MERCER
FLORIDAST
 
6:00pm Friday
MOREHEADST
LOUISVILLE
 
6:00pm Friday
VIRGINIA
USC
 
7:00pm Friday
FIU
MIAFLA
 
7:00pm Friday
FLAAM
FLORIDA
 
7:00pm Friday
MARYLAND
MISS
 
7:00pm Friday
SACREDHART
TCU
 
7:00pm Friday
STJOHNS
OKLAHOMAST
 
7:00pm Friday
TSOUTHERN
TEXASAM
 
7:00pm Friday
VCU
DALLASBAPT
 
8:00pm Friday
HSTNBAPT
HOUSTON
 
8:00pm Friday
LIPSCOMB
VANDERBILT
 
8:00pm Friday
OHIO
ILLINOIS
 
8:00pm Friday
TULANE
NWILMINGTN
 
10:00pm Friday
PEPPERDINE
FULLERTON
 
10:00pm Friday
SANDIEGOST
CSANTABAR
 
11:00pm Friday
CSBAKER
UCLA
 
Final
ROC 1
DUR 2
 
1:05pm Today
ROC
DUR
 
7:05pm Friday
SYR
DUR
 
6:35pm Saturday
SYR
DUR
 
5:05pm Sunday
SYR
DUR