Tonight's Thoughts

These last couple of weeks and months have been a massive blur. Shortly after Fidgi passed, my good friends lost their son, also 47, to some heart and blood clot issues. Like Fidgi, it was completely out of nowhere. Like Fidgi, it was a total shock.

Truth be told, I didn't really know Christopher very well. He flitted in and out of the scene, occasionally stopping in to see his folks when we were around and once joining us and his parents for a holiday dinner at our home. But I only really knew him from stories and listening to him speak on the phone with his mom when the kids and I happened to be visiting. He was a sharp, eclectic and very private guy, their only child. His loss left us stunned and unsettled. Personally, I just can't make sense of it. I know his parents can't either.

After that horrible week, when he had been fighting to hang on and his parents, in utter dismay, were just trying to cope, I (almost guiltily) took my younger daughter's soccer team to their first tournament together. While I was so pleased with Lily's team, their sweet championship win was but a fleeting victory in light of Fidgi's and Chirstopher's deaths. Don't get me wrong: I am so proud of those kids and not just for winning. I am most proud of how hard they have worked and how much they have overcome to get where they are. When I think of all the good things that can come from youth sports, it is the will and drive to both overcome obstacles and create successes that I most hope these kids walk away with. Sure there are friendships and shared experiences and fun and laughter and physical fitness benefits, and even some tears of sadness and frustration; those harder lessons learned. But recognizing their power to create outcomes, learning to believe in themselves, to see the value in helping one other, and having faith in a future they cannot yet see and yet striving to get there anyway, those are the things I hope they learn above all else.

And when I ponder my place in it all, I realize I don't want to be just another coach who teaches a game. Anyone can do that. I want to be a coach who helps create better people; people who can figure out how to get the results they want while building others up along the way and most importantly, people who never, ever give up. They won't always get what they dream up, they won't always win that trophy or prize, but by giving their all until the bitter end and by helping others do the same, they will lead vibrant and full lives, lives without regret.

In the wake of another unexpected loss, the questions are far more numerous than the answers. But that one glaring lesson remains: we simply do not know how long we get to walk this path. We must make the most of the time we have and with the people we have in it. And that time is now.

I wish that lesson came easier.

Rest in peace, Christopher.

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