As I looked among the rows of people in front of me. I was almost the farthest person back. The pain everyone feels controls the atmosphere in the room. Everyone stands as they roll in the casket of a man too young to be in it. The question is always why? What did this person do in his short 25 years to not be able participate in the next 25 years? He should be sprinting up there with same pace he played soccer. Insanely quick with rapid snapping fingers. The faster he ran then the faster he snapped. Just four months ago that’s how he was playing soccer and coaching. As bad and as selfish as it sounds I can’t help but think of people I would rather see us remembering. Or for me, some of them forgotten. Is it wrong to think that? The younger the person is the more people you see at the funeral. It was a friends reunion of sorts. People I haven’t seen for years are there. Good to see them but, not like this. The first speaker clears her throat. The sound of sniffing and a silence that is never wanted is all I can hear. She tells funny stories and you remember your own experiences of him that are unique to you. Laughing along with everyone and also to your own stories. Thinking of the last time you talked to him. Him explaining how he is coaching a handful of teams. How he enjoys it so much. Watching the kids learn and I really felt his passion for his players. He had me convinced.
Each speaker that gets up has their own lessons he taught them. Again it goes through my mind of why are we talking about him when there are so many who have cheated death who shouldn’t have. Now I listen to his close friend talk about his last weeks and how his friends made sure to include him in all they did. Picking him up and his new acquired wheel chair to where ever they were going. Will I have friends and family like that if cancer takes me? You start to realize the person you want to be. And more important questions. How far away from your ideal person are you? Am I going to be as happy and optimistic when im dying? The vision the family creates of the deep talks they had his last week is surreal. His outlook on life and how he feels he was successful in just 25 years. His view of success was based on what he accomplished and how he helped others. It had nothing to do with money, power, or possessions. And everything to do with learning, optimism, and helping others. Having fun no matter what while setting a good example. Having a relationship with friends and family that is so intimate. The closeness that is shared only through a heartbreaking loss. His father is next and he explains how he is struggling. A guy I have known for years starts to cry next to me. My eyes well up and I too have some tears. Im conflicted on if im crying because of the loss or because im thankful for what I have. Its both! Being able to talk to him again is no longer an option. Its overwhelming! A void in our lives that will never be filled. Are we lucky or cursed? Why do you learn so much when you hurt so bad? All these questions with no answers. Everyone knew him in a different way. Some close friends. Some family. Some coworkers. Some teammates. Some young players that he coached. Some old friends that have not been around lately. Some here to support another friend. So everyone will take something different from this experience. But what will everyone learn from him? What did I learn? Learn and live OR live and learn? Or Both? Learn to live life to the fullest. Live life to learn knowledge you could never read in a book. Live and Learn by teaching. With 25 years or 50 years you can still make a difference.
My goal is to live life with the same passion, patience, and persistence he played and coached the beautiful game of soccer. And never give up!
I know that’s what the kids he coached learned
Thursday, February 5, 2009
What is the deal…. ? Does my brain actually have a purpose? Does my brain have any HELP ME functions? Do I have an extra chromosome? How big is the average persons forehead suppose to be? Let me give you a story of why I ask these questions. I was in the grocery store last night. I had two $25 gift cards from my mom and one from my aunt as Christmas gifts. The economy sucks and with no job for a couple months a Christmas gift of food is want they gave me. I loved the idea! I eat two, sometimes three times a day. It makes sense! I have already used most of one of the gift cards for some tasty Wine Coolers during the weekend. (I know some girls.) I have a list of things I need to get that will not go over the amount of the gift card credit I have. I check off the items as I shop and 20 minutes later Im at the check out stand. Im getting excited to cook and eat something different than ramen noodles! I have just put all of my listed items on the little moving belt. Chicken, cheese, milk, butter, pasta, wait milk? Where is the milk? I remember grabbing it out of the cooler. Have you ever had cookies and Kool-Aid? Cereal and water? I have! Milk is a little important to complete these classic combinations. I was checking under my cart and even asked the checker if he accidentally charged it to the guy in front of me. He says he hasn’t seen any milk lately. Since I am a bag of frosted pink and white animal cookies away from getting my total, I relax and decide to come to terms with my lapse of memory. $27.48 flashes up on the cash register. A big $25 flashes in my brain! I pull out my wallet to pay. As I start sweating and fumbling through my wallet I cant find the gift card. I look behind me to see a line forming. Thank jesus I found it! I hand it to the checker and start to fumble again for the Wine Cooler card. The checker is looking at me like he has been working for 58 years and really needs a smoke break. He then says ok that one had $0.91 on it. I look up and give him a nervous chuckle and smile. At this point my brain is debating with itself about how I cant find the other gift card and the milk is missing and Im $2.48 over my amount WITHOUT THE MILK and only $0.91 on the Wine Cooler card and the people are waiting behind me and the checker is leaning over the counter trying to figure out if Im scared or if I just feel uncomfortable without my special helmet. My chest, armpits and forehead dampin within seconds! I then looked up at the checker and I try to explain WITHOUT sounding like I rode a yellow bus the size of a mini cooper with my matching yellow striped helmet to use my MAGIC gift card to get my pink and white frosted animal cookies at the big grocery store! I tell him to hold my order while I run to MY car (not mini bus) or maybe run home. He refunds my $0.91 back onto my gift card. Thank you! And I, with my head down, walk briskly out to my car. Its not in my car! I look straight up in the air and ask why didn’t he just give me a big forehead and fat tongue so at least I had an excuse! I then leave to head home because I really want to get back to the store so I can crunch on some pink and white frosted animal goodness! But apparently little miss latino officer who pulled me over didn’t share my love for those little pink frosted camels! Luckly my quick acting mind unbuttoned my shirt. It was enough to convince her to just tell me to slow down. And threaten me with putting plastic spinner hub cap covers from Walmart on my Jeep. I went 25 mph the rest of the way. I arrive home and start retracing my steps to find the gift card. Empty garbage cans! Check. Go through all Christmas cards! Check. Check all my pockets in all the pants I have ever owned! Check. No gift card. I stand in my living room with my hands on my hips surrounded by garbage, pants and Christmas cards. I just lost $25 worth of food and white frosted elephants! Im so not happy! Maybe I missed it in my wallet? After I debat with myself for thirty seconds or so as I pull out my wallet. I dump it on the table. Shaking it like Mohamad Ali’s favorite scary book. Everything is out and I sort through it. A keep pile and a non keep pile! Condom in the keep pile. Two year old receipt for condom in the non keep pile. All sorted! I double check my wallet and feel something that makes me think its not empty. In one of the back credit card slots I find something. Wrapped in a receipt for Wine Coolers is the elusive $25 gift card. I rant to myself on how I should add my name, along with Jessica Simpson and Keanu Reeves, on the brain transplant registry list! What is the deal? Needless to say I didn’t go back to the store that night. But to handle my frustrations I had a good bowl of ramen noodles and a Wine Cooler.