Thursday, February 7, 2013

meet cancelled

I'm still here.  But I think I've lost my blogging voice.  But then there was yesterday.

My boys are participating in wrestling at their high school.  Yesterday was to be their last meet before the State Meet in about 10 days.  On days that they have a meet after school, they stay at school to practice and go in the short bus to the school hosting.  On those days, I don't have to pick them up at school, so I look forward to a little extra time to wrap up loose ends at school.

Yesterday, though, I got a phone call from one of the other wrestling parents as my school day was ending.  One of the coaches had collapsed during practice, she said.  The paramedics were there and working on him.  It didn't sound good, so I assured here I would be there just as soon as I got things squared away at school.  I was on my way when she called to tell me that he had passed away.

I had gotten a single text from one of my sons:  "Meet cancelled.  Come get us."

When I arrived at their school, the ambulance was still there.  There were dozens of kids milling around on the sidewalk outside the gym.  My two and one of their teammates came to my vehicle, wordlessly opened the doors and dissolved into tears.  Three teenage boys sobbing is not pretty.  Who do you hug first?  I parked in the parking lot, and the mom of my extra child showed up shortly.

Death can be so sudden.  This man was my age.  Graduated the same year as me.  Was in decent enough shape.  Had a daughter in one of my sons' classes.  "Hug with two arms," was the advice that one of my co-workers passed along from a funeral that she had been to the day before.

We headed home.  "Church or home?" I asked.  "Church," one said.  So we stopped off at the church by my school and in the rainy evening darkness we knelt and prayed.  I know I prayed for wisdom to know what to tell them and how to comfort them, as well as praying for this man and his family.

One minute he had been wrestling with a group of kids.  The next minute, he was unconscious.  The kids were present until the ambulance arrived.  I've not seen someone dying, but my children have. "Coach (the other one) was crying," they said.

Lord, give peace and comfort all those whose lives were touched by Coach Greg - his family, his friends, the youth that he gave his time to.