Tuesday, January 28, 2020

And Then There Were Nine

The news got worse as the day went on.  More girls and moms and dads gone in a flash.  TBG was obsessed; I tried to avoid it.  That quickly became impossible; it was on the national news as well as the sports news and on the radio and all over the inter-webs. 

I saw nothing about the civil suit he settled when he was 25 and accused by a 19 year old hotel employee of rape.  A WaPo reporter was put on paid leave for tweeting about it; I suppose it was too soon to look at the whole picture. 

But I wasn't focused on Kobe the superstar.  I was stuck on his family, one sister gone and three without their daddy. 

I couldn't get Payton Chester out of my mind, nor Alyssa Altobelli, 8th graders... just on the cusp.... full of life.... riding to an away game with the coach.... a scene that, perhaps without the helicopter, is familiar to lots of us.
I was stuck with all those families who now exist in a Before and After world.

The professional athletes who were forced to face their own mortality made me understand the value of a rueful smile.  That was a break from the awful reality of Alyssa's siblings making their way on their own, of Matt Mauser's 2 year old crying for her gone forever mommy, of the students and players and carpool parents whose lives are forever altered by a single, unlikely event, something that happens to other people. 

Suddenly, they are other people, too, members of a club that no one wants to join. 

They are in my heart.  All of them.


  1. Somewhere in all that news I saw Kobe Bryant's birthdate and it hit hard, he was born the same year as our daughter. Yes, I had seen his age reported as 41, but that didn't click until I saw the year. Our daughter was in a very serious car crash last Memorial Day weekend. A crash that EMTs and police officers did not expect a survivor, yet after 36 hours in the hospital, she left with a concussion. We knew how close we had come...

  2. So tragic and from seemingly out of nowhere. It's the way of tragedy though.

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