Tuesday, January 06, 2009

To an athlete dying young; 16 reasons to smile

You almost don't want to say anything cheap or dumb about this kind of story.

David Gough, a reporter at the Wallaceburg (Ont.) Courier-Press, is owed big time for sharing this story. The local Junior C hockey club, the Lakers, lost a teammate, Tristan Carswell, who died in his sleep Dec. 28, three days after Christmas. He was just 19 years old.
"The Lakers first game was something a Hollywood scriptwriter couldn’t have written better. The Lakers opened the scoring 16 seconds into the game with a goal by Nash Lozon. They scored their final goal of the game (a 3-0 win on Jan. 3) with an empty-net goal by Chris Lalonde with 16 seconds remaining in the game.

"Carswell’s jersey number? Sixteen.

"Additionally there was a stoppage in play in the first period with the clock showing 16:16. "
One does not presume to be any kind of a theologian or even know for sure that God exists. Is an all-time crazy coincidence, at the very least.

One should not infer too much from a story about a junior hockey team. No doubt, though, if you're a hockey fan living in Ontario, you could use a little pick-me-up. The January blahs have set in; the glow of the world juniors is fading fast. The Leafs and Senators are offering precious little solace (and it's all the fault of Jason Spezza, just to capture the spirit of the thing).

Regardless, reading of a group of athletes, who at the roughest of times, came together "to overcome pain and wrong and death," in Freddie Shero's immortal phrase, is heartwarming. No one can explain why it was Carswell who was taken from his family and friends too soon, but a story like this makes one appreciate having people who are there for the rough times.

(Thanks, David.)

Number 16 always with the Lakers (David Gough, Wallaceburg Courier-Press)

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