What to say when there isn’t anything to say
There aren’t any words for this. There aren’t any answers.There’s nothing simple or satisfying anyone can say after the events of the last two weeks. Andy Given, a Battle Mountain alumnus, all of 20-years-old, died in an auto accident down in Denver last week. Friday, we got word that Jake Brock, a 19-year-old grad of Eagle Valley, and his girlfriend died in a when they were run off the Interstate 70 near Grand Junction by an alleged drunk driver being pursued by the Colorado State Patrol.Battle Mountain girls’ soccer was meant to have a game today at Delta, but five Panthers players were involved in auto accident Friday, and the game has been postponed. (When I talked to Battle Mountain athletic director Rich Houghton Friday night, he said that from what he’d heard that all five young ladies were mercifully O.K.)
I was planning on writing a rip-roaring column on the Huskies 3-1 win Thursday over Steamboat. I like writing sports because, as much as it may seem like it at the time to those involved be it high school or professional, it isn’t life and death. They’re games, a welcome distraction from the real world.I can’t say I knew Andy or Jake. I may have interviewed Given in his time at Battle Mountain. I saw both of them run. I don’t mean to be callous, but I just see the ages of these kids, and they were just kids in the greater scheme of things.I know teenagers think they’ve lived a bit – I certainly did at 19 or 20 – but Andy and Jake were just starting out there lives. Why now? Why so young? They were innocents. Kids who are 19 or 20 are meant to be going to college, getting out on their own, and hopefully finding friends for life. It’s time for new experiences, time to enjoy music, art, books and to find one’s passions.They say death is a natural part of life. My thought on this just isn’t printable. Everybody’s heart goes out to the Given and Brock families. A parent should never have to go through this.When we heard about Jake Friday, I talked to the father of one of his teammates. His son was coming home because of the accident. The father told his son essentially to drive slowly and get home safely.
It echoed what I heard around 10 days ago when Andy died. A mom, whose son ran with Andy, knew that his spring break was coming, and after she heard the news, vacation couldn’t come soon enough. In times like these, you learn that nothing can be taken for granted. One usually sails around thinking that there’s always a tomorrow.I’ve been in a whirlwind of emotions since my father died in August. When I came back from San Francisco, I would get calls from parents complaining about the lack of coverage of their kids. I wanted to scream, “You’re a father. You’re alive. Your kid’s alive. Instead of talking to me, why don’t you hug your kid?”It’s not exactly a diplomatic approach to the situation, but there’s some truth to it.We should celebrate Andy’s and Jake’s lives – there’s a memorial today at noon at the Eagle-Vail Pavilion; understandably, there are no such arrangements for Jake as yet. In the meantime, yes, the average teenager usually doesn’t want to be seen in public with their parents, fine. Don’t worry, your parents think you have a screw loose, too. It’s all a part of growing up. Just take some time to be with your folks.
Parents, just hug your kids. Hold on to them and tell them you love them, no matter what mind-bogglingly inane thing they’ve done lately. It’s the only sensible thing to do, when like now, nothing makes sense.Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.