I believe a tragedy, with seemingly movie-like qualities, shaped my beliefs but also in turn inspired me to be a better person and walk a more righteous life. My high school baseball team was a close-knit group, 33 young men who many of us had been playing together since we were kids, but if you would have told us that one of our teammates would be dead before the end of freshmen year in college, we would have laughed at you; but we were wrong, dead wrong. This accidental death occurred on the practice field of all places, where we believe we are safe from the perils of this world and where one can do what they love, play. My friend and old teammate Dale Lloyd passed away on September 25, 2006 when he collapsed on the Rice Football practice field because his enlarged heart failed during a light morning workout. Dale had his whole life ahead of him being a two sport star earning all district honors in baseball and football, being elected to Who’s Who Among American High School Students, but he also was a genuine young man which he demonstrated when he used to volunteer for the Mayors Youth Council. Dale was the prototypical young man, excellent student athlete, driven, full of potential, having aspirations of being a professional athlete, and a soft spoken humble gentleman who was one of the nicest and sincerest people I have ever met. When the team got back together after Dales death it was tough because we all knew how generous and kind Dale was and that a tragedy like that could happen to the sweetest person it was just mind boggling. It reminded me of when my baseball coaches used to say, “Give it your best! Show me some heart!” And Dale did this day in and day out on the playing field and showed with produced results which are echoed by the broken records he still holds today. This is a reminder to me how ironic life sometimes is and that even though we sometimes believe we control of own fate we are at the mercy of other forces including nature and the limits of our bodies. I believe Dale’s story can show us all how precious life is and that death doesn’t care who you are married to, how much money you have, what kind of car you drive, how smart you are, or where you went to college because when death comes; it is coming to collect. We all face death being that death is reserved for every individual, but it is the way we live our life and the way we carry ourselves, even in the direst of circumstances that defines who we are as a person. Dale was a wonderful person and I just feel blessed to have even know him at all for the short time he was with us and although he is no longer with us, he will be survived through his family and his many friends.
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