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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Sic transit gloria campi

I received some sad news yesterday. The captain of my varsity soccer team, the 25th Anniversary team that won the MISSL and went to State, died last week at the age of 46. It seems absolutely impossible, not because we're in our forties or because it shatters some illusion of youthful immortality, but because for me he was an acquaintance who was just a little larger than life.

I met him in 7th grade when I was sent to private school for the first time; we were two of the original class of 1986 that gradually swelled each year. We weren't friends, but neither were we enemies. He was at the top of the social ladder of our class from the start and I was pretty damn near the bottom for our first three years there. We both played soccer, but as a bigger, more developed, and more skilled player who was the varsity coach's son, he played two teams ahead of me, on the C-squad.

I didn't start to get to know him well until we both started taking German classes in 8th grade from his father, who like most coaches was a teacher at the school. An Austrian immigrant, his father was a good coach and a superlative language teacher. Unlike most kids who take high school languages, all of us were fully and comfortably conversational in German after five years in the program. From day one, we were forbidden to speak English in the classroom and only referred to each other there by our German names. His German name was Max, and I will henceforth refer to him that way.

Max was a bully, but not a mean one. He was an Alpha male maintaining his place at the top of the social order, not a cruel individual torturing the bottom-dwellers in order to impress others. He was mercurial, quick to anger and even quicker to smile, laugh, and forget whatever had set off his temper. He was stocky, but not heavy-set, just above average height, with dark blond hair parted in the middle and the sort of pugnacious good looks that are adorable on a little boy, but can look thuggish on the face of an adult.

He was the private school version of a bad boy who sneaked beers into parties, radiated a vague sense of danger, and was usually involved with one of the more attractive girls in our class. His longtime girlfriend, "Liesl", was a slender athlete who wasn't especially pretty in the conventional manner, but was the prototypical cool chick everyone liked. We voted her homecoming queen our senior year. When my parents went to Europe for a month during my senior year, I threw a Super Bowl party. Max brought the keg.

I was always wary of Max although he never really hassled me. It was clear that he wasn't the sort of boy it was wise to cross. But despite having class with him literally every school day for four years, it wasn't until I finally made the varsity team, on which he'd already been playing for two years, that I discovered his true colors. He was one of the team's three captains, but there was no question to whom everyone looked for direction. This wasn't because he was the coach's son, but because the other captains were both highly gifted players who were too laid-back and self-contained to concern themselves much with what everyone else was doing.

We were supposed to be mediocre that year, since the team only had four lettermen returning after the previous team had gone to the State tournament for the first time since the varsity lost the State championship game when I was in 8th grade. (That made a huge impression on me in junior high, going to the night games with the stands full of cheering, chanting fans.) Prior to the start of the season, we were playing Apple Valley, the defending state champions, in a preseason scrimmage and we were losing one to nothing at halftime.

We were playing poorly and the coach was disgusted. He waved his hand, said he had nothing to say to us, and walked away. Max stood up and promptly lit into every single one of us, sparing no one, not even the bench players. I have no idea what he said, I just remember the raw fury in his eyes as he yelled at us. We went back onto the field, angry and embarrassed, and promptly outplayed the best team in the state. The game ended in a tie.

That set the stage for the season. We destroyed many of the teams we played. Both of the other captains got hat tricks in the first two games, I got mine in the third one. We had an eclectic group of players, a mix of popular boys and outsiders, and although we didn't necessarily all like each other, we all really enjoyed playing together. We came together as a team in the purest sense of the word; it wasn't a social group, it wasn't a gathering of friends, it wasn't a family, it was a group that came together for a single purpose: every time we stepped onto the field together, we were there to win.

That didn't mean there weren't some bumps and bruises in practice. Max was our number 10, and he was a bruiser. He wouldn't so much steal the ball as bulldoze the player on it before taking it and turning up the field. One day, in practice, he came charging at me and kept coming after I passed the ball away. I saw that he was intending to flatten me, so I swung my elbow around and caught him in the jaw, hard enough to knock him down. I swear, he bounced right off the ground and chased me halfway across the field before enough of our teammates managed to corral him and calm him down.

A few days later, in the middle of a game, I got into some fisticuffs with two Hill-Murray players and was in the process of getting soundly thrashed. Max came flying in, literally threw himself into their bodies and knocked both of them off me. He stood over me until I could scramble to my feet, swearing a blue streak at them all the while. If you were his teammate, he had your back. I've played on and against many teams since then, some of them championship teams, and some of them that featured players from Europe's most famous soccer clubs. But I've never known a better team leader than Max. In 27 years of track, martial arts, and soccer since, I've never met anyone who was more willing to stand up or throw down on a moment's notice for a teammate.

We went on to win the conference, defeating an SPA team had two future US National team players and would go on to win two consecutive State championships. Max was named All-Midwest, some of the other players were named All-State, but we didn't win the State championship. After defeating our hated archrivals, Minneapolis Washburn, in the quarterfinals, a game followed by a brawl so epic it made the 10 PM news, Max scored a goal that was disallowed (erroneously) against Bloomington Kennedy. They scored in overtime to knock us out of the tournament in the semifinals. It was an especially bitter defeat because Kennedy was the team that had defeated our varsity team in the State championship game four years before.

Max and I only saw each other again once after graduation. It was on our home soccer field, an alumni game against a varsity that included two of my younger brothers. They had two 30-goal scorers, one of whom did those fancy flip throw-ins. They were undefeated, and they were more than confident that they would beat up on the old guys without breaking a sweat, as the varsity teams usually did. I scored twice and we won 3-1. It didn't matter if it was a scrimmage, a State tournament, or an alumni game, if you were playing with Max, then you were going to play to win.

It was a privilege to play with Max, even if only for one season. I wasn't the only player to feel that way. One of his college teammates, someone I've never met, wrote: "He was an unselfish leader and I loved playing with him." To this day, when I think of a leader, he is the very first individual of whom I think. And if there is a Valhalla for soccer players, I am absolutely certain he will be there in the midfield, taking no prisoners, and inspiring his teammates by word and by deed. Rest in peace, #10.

Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
      But I with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
      Fallen cold and dead.

Labels:

58 Comments:

Anonymous patrick kelly December 10, 2013 1:23 PM  

Wow. Thanks. I really need some inspiring, positive words lately.

May his memory be eternal.

Anonymous Aufhebend December 10, 2013 1:34 PM  

To have worked under a great leader is always a privilege and honour.

Requiescat in pace.

Anonymous JC December 10, 2013 1:36 PM  

Good piece, Vox. God rest his soul.

Anonymous E.G December 10, 2013 1:38 PM  

Wow ... this is a beautiful tribute to an old acquaintance! RIP

Anonymous Ecthelion December 10, 2013 1:46 PM  

Well written and moving; sounds like a man I would have been richer for knowing. As a Washburn alum, the archrival part made me smile, even if we lost.

Blogger JCclimber December 10, 2013 1:51 PM  

Reminds me of the sports stories books I used to read as a boy.

I have to start digging around to see if I can locate some of those from before the days of PC, so my child can read them.

Excellent tribute. I wonder if he would be tossed and suspended from school for zero tolerance fighting in today's school intolerance zones.

Anonymous GG December 10, 2013 1:54 PM  

I'm sorry for your loss. That was a beautiful tribute.

Anonymous VD December 10, 2013 1:55 PM  

As a Washburn alum, the archrival part made me smile, even if we lost.

It was crazy. We tied 1-1 on Super Soccer Saturday, when every team at every level played beginning in the morning. One of their players gave our goalie 70 stitches in the mouth and a concussion, so there was a lot of bad blood going into the State semifinal game.

Their star player, an African named Bobbie Bergfalk who looked about 35, triggered the brawl by slugging the referee at the end of the game. That game featured the biggest goal I ever scored; I got the third goal to put the game away with perhaps five minutes left.

The best part was watching the brawl on the news after the game. We were all at one guy's house laughing at one midfielder's father standing right in the middle of the field, in the middle of the camera, first starting one way and then the other, trying to figure which group to try to break up first. I would love to see that clip again.

Blogger ajw308 December 10, 2013 2:05 PM  

I'm sorry for you loss.
I've never met anyone more willing to stand up or throw down on a moment's notice for a teammate.
Acquaintences like that, team mates like that, they are a treasure, the examples of manhood and leadership that they set for one can benefit them their whole life.
Thank you for sharing this with us. It's an excellent tribute.

Blogger Guitar Man December 10, 2013 2:07 PM  

Googled Minneapolis Soccer Brawl, only to realize you went to school before the days of Google. However, there is a pretty good high school brawl that comes up in the results.

Anonymous Crispy December 10, 2013 2:15 PM  

Sorry for your loss. Well done eulogy.

Anonymous Ecthelion December 10, 2013 2:20 PM  

Their star player, an African named Bobbie Bergfalk who looked about 35, triggered the brawl by slugging the referee at the end of the game. That game featured the biggest goal I ever scored; I got the third goal to put the game away with perhaps five minutes left.

That game was a little before my time at Washburn, but I wish it would have seen it, regardless of the outcome. I remember a few guys like Bobbie when I was there, including one that incredibly similar to the 1980's Mike Tyson in build and temperament. There was an interesting dichotomy at Washburn back then.

The only brawl I saw in person after a game was after a football game a Roosevelt. But that, unsurprisingly, was started by them and finished by us.

At soccer, we were always frustratingly good; good enough to contend, never great enough to win it all.

Anonymous VD December 10, 2013 2:27 PM  

I remember a few guys like Bobbie when I was there, including one that incredibly similar to the 1980's Mike Tyson in build and temperament.

It may have been Bobbie. We used to joke that he would show up the next year.

"Bobbie, you graduated, you can't play here anymore."

"No, it's okay, I'm Billy Bergfalk, Bobbie's little brother."

He was unstoppable. Max tracked him all over and he still scored a goal in both games.

Anonymous N5 December 10, 2013 2:34 PM  

That's a great tribute. My brother played a MPLS Edison, but they weren't contenders back in the early 80s.

Anonymous N5 December 10, 2013 2:37 PM  

But if there had been a "bondo your '72 Torino in Metal Shop and Smoke Weed" championship, we Tommies would have been without peer.

Anonymous Ecthelion December 10, 2013 2:52 PM  

It may have been Bobbie. We used to joke that he would show up the next year.

I wouldn't rule that out...

Thank you for Max's story and for the memories.

Anonymous DaveD December 10, 2013 3:09 PM  

I must be more of a Delta/Gamma than I thought because I don't see much redeeming in this guy. Can someone explain to me how being a bully, emotionally unstable, violent and hyper competitive is being alpha? (Honest question.) I read the description and was filled with a red hot loathing of the man and I've never met him. I have known many like him however.

Blogger Markku December 10, 2013 3:15 PM  

Because that IS alpha. It's not some value judgement, that you have scored 5/5 in life or something.

Anonymous VD December 10, 2013 3:20 PM  

Can someone explain to me how being a bully, emotionally unstable, violent and hyper competitive is being alpha?

If you don't understand that, you don't know what alpha is. Also, apparently you missed "girlfriend is homecoming queen", "top of the social order" and "leader". And mercurial is not "mentally unstable".

Anyhow, if that description fills you with loathing, you're not a Delta, you're a Gamma. Deltas love Alphas and follow them happily. I suspect you're not reacting to the description, you're reacting to the way others you think were like him treated you. But, as I pointed out, he didn't treat the lowly like that. He treated potential challengers like that. He never bullied the weak that I can remember, only the strong.

He was the sort of guy who led from the front and made you ashamed to give any less than he did. That ability to inspire is very rare.

Anonymous daddynichol December 10, 2013 3:28 PM  

And may the Eternal Light shine upon Max. Amen.

Anonymous patrick kelly December 10, 2013 3:36 PM  

DaveD

FWIW I have observed there is sometimes a thin, ambiguous line between a natural Alpha and a posing, bully, Beta, trying to mimic, often poorly, what he admires in the Alpha.

Vox explained the leadership aspect. Not that Alpha's can't be evil assholes....they can....I look at these categories as maps, not the territory.......

Anonymous Josh December 10, 2013 3:55 PM  

I got into some fisticuffs with two Hill-Murray players and was in the process of getting soundly thrashed

This sounds quite British.

Blogger Nate December 10, 2013 3:59 PM  

"Because that IS alpha. It's not some value judgement, that you have scored 5/5 in life or something."

Can be. Alphas don't always bully. Lots of alphas don't ever have too.

My freshman year there was a dude named Derrick Bottoms... our starting QB... best basketball player... and best pitcher. Actually got drafted in baseball. Dude threw in the high 90s.

He was big.. and generally scary looking as hell.

Derrick never bullied anyone. Never got in a fight. Never saw him say a cross word to anyone. I never saw him pick on anyone other than standard male group dynamic stuff... giving his friends shit about this or that.

He simply walked around the school like it was his house and everyone that was there... including the staff... was his guest and he was a hospitable host.

Anonymous Josh December 10, 2013 4:05 PM  

FWIW I have observed there is sometimes a thin, ambiguous line between a natural Alpha and a posing, bully, Beta, trying to mimic, often poorly, what he admires in the Alpha.

We had a guy on our football team like that. He was always super jacked up for practices and played like a maniac. He always went full speed in practice and once gave a backup freshman a concussion. The coaches routinely had to sit him down because he was a danger to other players.

The fearless, screaming maniac who hit like a truck in practice turned into a tentative and weak coward in game. He never started a game, never made a significant play, and never knew his assignments.

But he acted like he was Bernard Pollard in practice. Usually by annihilating freshman he had a hundred pounds on.

That's the difference between an alpha and a bully.

Anonymous VD December 10, 2013 4:11 PM  

But he acted like he was Bernard Pollard in practice. Usually by annihilating freshman he had a hundred pounds on.

There was a brown belt who came by for a few free sparring sessions back in the day. He used to beat the hell out of us lower belts. It gradually became clear that he was avoiding the black belts. This infuriated our most prickly black belt, who promptly beat him down in a vicious manner and told him he could only come back if he fought red belts and up. He never showed up again.

That sort of bully is usually afraid of being hurt. All offense, no defense.

Blogger Nate December 10, 2013 4:13 PM  

"But he acted like he was Bernard Pollard in practice. Usually by annihilating freshman he had a hundred pounds on."

Pollard... at least the Titans have one player...

Anonymous Raggededge December 10, 2013 4:25 PM  

[b]Pollard... at least the Titans have one player...[/b]

If Hunter will learn how to hold on to the ball, they might end up with two players.

Blogger Res Ipsa December 10, 2013 4:26 PM  

Salute.

Anonymous DonReynolds December 10, 2013 4:32 PM  

"He smiled me in the face, raught me his hand,
And, with a feeble gripe, says 'Dear my lord,
Commend my service to me sovereign.'
So did he turn and over Suffolk's neck
He threw his wounded arm and kiss'd his lips;
And so espoused to death, with blood he seal'd
A testament of noble-ending love.
The pretty and sweet manner of it forced
Those waters from me which I would have stopp'd;
But I had not so much of man in me,
And all my mother came into mine eyes
And gave me up to tears."

Exeter in Henry V

Anonymous Braking Neuz December 10, 2013 4:35 PM  

This just in....

Soccer Not Always Gay

Anonymous dh December 10, 2013 4:36 PM  

First off, I think we all know you left off the part of the story where you and your teammates hazed the ackward kid who was obviously gay, bashed the minorities, and gang raped a few girls.

Second, this is a great reason why your blog is having a great year. This is a great post and of course well written. There is a lot to be said for the value of sport and team building for life. You don't see this on the other guys blog. You don't see anything that is quite so intimate.

No illusions about closeness, but anyone reading this has a much more real insight into what type of person you are Vox than anyone who sniffs Scalzi's butt for months, looking at pictures of his kids, house, wife, awards, cat, books, and friends. That's all lies designed to trick readers into buying signed copies of his books to give as gifts.

Blogger RobertT December 10, 2013 4:38 PM  

Great eulogy. Teammates know each other in ways their families don't. A teammate of mine died a few years ago. We took state in baseball and lost in the playoffs in basketball. Anyone who tired to drive the middle on us came out a bloody pulp. We played together from the time we went out for OTA as eight year olds so we had a rich history, I am the executor of his estate and I remember him vastly different from what his only daughter remembers. I would guess this eulogy is very precious to his surviving family. My guess is that would startle them.

Blogger RobertT December 10, 2013 4:47 PM  

tried not tired ...

rereading that made me think that the Alpha status is so fragile. So many high school "Alphas" end up as lower betas. I'm not thinking of your friend, but some of mine. That's probably why I have this vision of Alphas as overweight former quarterbacks selling cars for a living. I saw one the other day trying to attract the attention of a quality girl by doing everything wrong. In fact I see them every day of the week when the come into our practice for one reason or another and hit on one of my fabulous female staff, who always talk among each other about what a great looking dork he is. Looks like an alpha, acts like an alpha, thinks he's an alpha, but isn't. Sad actually.

Blogger Clint December 10, 2013 4:48 PM  

Nice words. May Max's memory be eternal!

Anonymous VD December 10, 2013 4:56 PM  

Teammates know each other in ways their families don't.

It's an old chestnut, but it's true: sports reveal character. There are few things that are more encouraging than to shake hands with a teammate and have him look you in the eye and tell you that it was a pleasure to play with you.

I think perhaps it was particularly important for a social semi-outcast like me to learn that I could find a place in a group where I was both comfortable and welcome. The soccer team and the dojo are the only places that has ever really worked for me. If I had understood that earlier, I would played soccer in college and happily sat on the bench for three years behind the All-American rather than running track.

Anonymous Josh December 10, 2013 5:12 PM  

Vox, does Europe have much more of an adult sporting culture than America? Most adults here don't play in team sports.

Anonymous E. PERLINE December 10, 2013 5:29 PM  

Vox, you felt the loss of your ex-teammate and espressed it well. But 46 is too early a death nowadays. Here is what I think was the cause. Your friend was under great emotional stress and something in his body broke down.

My wife and daughters know I love them but they think I'm a curmudgeon at 91. I'm not stressed by events. Even 4 years of naval warfare in WW2 didn't kill me. Why? Because I have no anger (depression, fear or envy.) .

Blogger Rantor December 10, 2013 6:12 PM  

Thanks, a great tribute.

Anonymous FUBAR Nation Ben December 10, 2013 6:16 PM  

Vox, you're spot when you said that deltas love following alphas. As a child, that was me. Didn't really care about leading anyone and was content to let the alpha do the work of motivating everyone and fighting the referees (sounds like a hard job).

It's like an unspoken contract. You play your guts out and the alpha has your back.

Anonymous Anonymous December 10, 2013 6:38 PM  

Bernard Brandt here. Sorry about the anonymous tag.

Several of us who have commented here have said "Eternal Memory" or "May his memory be eternal".

For those who aren't Orthodox or Eastern Catholic, that expression needs some unpacking.

Eastern Christians believe, with the Fathers, and, we believe, in accordance with Scripture, that all of creation is held in existence in the mind and the memory of God. Thus, if we are in His memory, we might live into the Resurrection.

A surprisingly Orthodox view was held by John Donne, when he wrote:

At the round earth's imagined corners blow
Your trumpets, angels, and arise, arise
From death, you numberless infinities
Of souls, and to your scattered bodies go ;
All whom the flood did, and fire shall o'erthrow,
All whom war, dea[r]th, age, agues, tyrannies,
Despair, law, chance hath slain, and you, whose eyes
Shall behold God, and never taste death's woe.
But let them sleep, Lord, and me mourn a space ;
For, if above all these my sins abound,
'Tis late to ask abundance of Thy grace,
When we are there. Here on this lowly ground,
Teach me how to repent, for that's as good
As if Thou hadst seal'd my pardon with Thy blood.


Eternal memory, Max.

Blogger Nate December 10, 2013 6:44 PM  

". The soccer team and the dojo are the only places that has ever really worked for me. "

It would work anywhere there is a group that is mission focused. When a group is mission focused the members of the group are judged by their ability to help accomplish the mission. Other social order traits are secondary.

You see this in military combat units where the popular guy that loses his shit in the fire fight becomes the outcast... and the outcast that held it together becomes a valued member of the team... and the wierd shit he did before that got him cast out now just becomes funny.

Anonymous Noah B. December 10, 2013 6:59 PM  

The stories about Max remind me of my friend and cross-country teammate Greg. Greg was a year ahead of me in school, and I had spoken to him a few times but didn't know him well when I joined the team in 10th grade. He was a very competitive runner, though not the fastest on the team. At the same time, he was the most outrageous prankster I have ever known, and he really brought the team together and motivated the slower runners to keep up with the faster ones. The definite alpha of the group was a senior who I never really got to know well, but the group dynamics were interesting since the rest of us were so close. The poor alpha was like a lion surrounded by jackals. He never had much of a chance to assert himself.

Before my first race, I was incredibly nervous. It was the first time we'd worn our racing outfits, which were these shorts I thought were incredibly short, flimsy tank tops, and very thin soled shoes. I was sick to my stomach, and I felt ridiculous. While we were passing the time, Greg taped a hot dog to the inside of his thigh and so that the tip was sticking out the end of his shorts just about half an inch. To this day, I have never seen anything so hilarious -- the moment people would catch a glimpse of that pink hot dog tip, protruding from these extremely short shorts, they would instantly look down or to the side. Or just cover their eyes. Or laugh hysterically (I always wondered if the people laughing recognized it as a hot dog or not). I don't know if helping me overcome my nervousness was what he had in mind at all, but it did the trick. I don't remember many of the details about how we placed but we all had a good race that day.

Another time Greg broke into the school to put a dead dog he'd found by the road in one of the ventilation ducts by his favorite teacher's classroom. It was up there for days before they found out what was causing the smell, and they probably never would have found out how it got there except that he fessed up. He wanted to be able to take credit.

We didn't keep in touch after high school, but I heard from some other friends that Greg had worked on a fishing boat in Alaska and worked on a ranch in South Texas while living in a house made out of tires. In Summer of 2000 I heard from another friend of mine that Greg had died in a motorcycle wreck a couple of weeks before. He was turning a corner, supposedly not speeding, hit a patch of gravel in the road, wrecked, and was gone by the time the ambulance got there. He was 22, maybe 23.

See you on the other side, bro.

Anonymous zen0 December 10, 2013 7:45 PM  

When I worked in aviation, there was a pilot I knew who pointed out, (after a few fatalities) that the longer you are in this business, the more dead people you know.

He died a year later.

Blogger Markku December 10, 2013 7:46 PM  

The longer you are in LIFE business, the more dead people you know.

True science fact.

Anonymous DaveD December 10, 2013 7:48 PM  

Vox, I did miss the comment about him not going after the usual targets.

Anonymous NateM December 10, 2013 7:58 PM  

Marrku-

Very true. My grandmothers favorite party game seemed to be "didn't he die"

Blogger Outlaw X December 10, 2013 8:42 PM  

I received some sad news yesterday. The captain of my varsity soccer team, the 25th Anniversary team that won the MISSL and went to State, died last week at the age of 46. It seems absolutely impossible, not because we're in our forties or because it shatters some illusion of youthful immortality, but because for me he was an acquaintance who was just a little larger than life.

This gives me a chance to say something I have been wanting to say to people on this blog. From your early 40's to your mid 50"s expect the hammer to fall in your sight. I don't mean death but it could be anything. It is a purging of the soul and recorded in the mind and probably your last chance to change for your own good. I have watched it all through my life and have noticed this to be a seemly an imperative of God or fate. It always happens. There are many names for it, some call it a mid-life crises, it could be a health, financial, marriage or family issue. It is as if you make it there it becomes an inevitable fact of life..

I suggest people recognize this and understand why it happens and move on with the wisdom of what has happened rather than why it happened. When you loose friends, family members or any loss that really disturbs you remember there is a reason and just be patient, sober and think. And it will become clear to you in Gods own time.

Anonymous DrTorch December 10, 2013 10:09 PM  

I went to college w/ a couple of your teammates. Even roomed w/ one of them my freshman year. But I'm a year or two older than you, so I don't think it's either of them.

Going to a funeral for a close friend from grad school this weekend. He was an atheist when we met. He chose to live as a delta, and was frivorced...but that led him to faith in Jesus Christ. In the end, that one backfired on Satan.

Anonymous zen0 December 10, 2013 10:37 PM  

The longer you are in LIFE business, the more dead people you know.

True science fact.


I was hoping people would get the connection.

Blogger Bernard Brandt December 10, 2013 11:17 PM  

Outlaw X,

This gives me a chance to say something I have been wanting to say to people on this blog. From your early 40's to your mid 50"s expect the hammer to fall in your sight.

For me, your message has come twenty years late. Two weeks after my 40th birthday, my first wife died in my arms. She had lung cancer, and died four months after diagnosis. She was 42 years old at the time.

It is a bitter counsel of wisdom which you offer. It is also, alas, none the less true.

Anonymous VD December 11, 2013 2:23 AM  

But I'm a year or two older than you, so I don't think it's either of them.

They may have been my track teammates. And, of course, I would have known who they are. It wasn't a very large school. My best friend at the school, who is still one of my best friends, was a year ahead of me, although we were the same year German class.

Blogger LP 999/Eliza December 11, 2013 3:17 AM  

Too young, too soon.

Anonymous jml1911a1 December 11, 2013 6:41 AM  

It was a bad day for the young to die...a HS classmate's husband died yesterday of an apparent heart attack, leaving three young children. They have served as missionaries in Indonesia for quite some time. He was 36. They were at our church not long ago, and he was in much better shape than I.

Anonymous JoeyWheels December 11, 2013 8:37 AM  

Vox,

I am truly sorry for your loss as your experience with Max demonstrates all that is glorious and formative of sports.

Anonymous E. PERLINE December 11, 2013 9:06 AM  

You can still take the moral course without grieving, depression, fear and hatred. Harboring these negative emotions will cause divorce and alienation. And they will surely undermine your immune system. What good does grieving do anybody?

Anonymous El Zinky Pinky December 11, 2013 9:39 PM  

Very well written, Vox.

Blogger Outlaw X December 12, 2013 4:47 AM  

What good does grieving do anybody?

Aksing why people grieve is like asking why people breath. It is a fact of life.

Anonymous NorthernHamlet December 13, 2013 11:14 PM  

Vox

You honor the man well in your words and in the leadership you yourself inspire in others.

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