By Alex Strouf
As I sit across from my laptop this morning, I write with a heavy heart.
Time and time again, we are reminded how fragile, precious, and valuable life really is.
This is the second time this year I’ll be writing an editorial regarding loss in the sports world, but this one is different than the last.
In June, we learned about the loss of ‘The Greatest’ Muhammad Ali after an incredibly inspiring and uplifting life.
On Sunday, September 25, I woke up to the news that one of the great young talents in professional baseball had been tragically killed in a boating accident at 24 years old.
Jose Fernandez was more than just a great talent, from what we’ve learned. He was an electric personality that lit up the Miami Marlins clubhouse and a dear friend to may.
On Sunday, the Marlins cancelled their game. On Monday, they played while mourning the loss of a friend and a teammate. That’s when one of the coolest moments I’ve ever seen in sports occurred. Fernandez’s best friend, Dee Gordon, smoked one to right in the Marlins’ first at-bat since Fernandez’s death. As he was rounding the bases, emotions poured from everybody involved at the ballpark, and even some at home, watching the game on television.
“I don’t have kids, so that was the best moment of my life,” Gordon said, following the game. That’s the ultimate way to pay respect to your best friend–through the game you two fell in love with.
Scott Van Pelt is one of the best sports broadcasters in the business. On Monday night’s edition of SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt, the pick for Van Pelt’s, “Best Thing I Saw Today,” was a no-brainer.
“Many nights, choosing the Best Thing I Saw Today can be difficult,” Van Pelt said. “Monday was the easiest since we started this show.”
That wasn’t the only loss the sports world had to cope with this week, as golf legend Arnold Palmer passed away Sunday night at the age of 87. Palmer is dubbed as one of the greatest golfers of all time, with 95 professional victories and 62 PGA Tour wins, which ranks fifth all time.
The four-time Masters champion left an impression on all fans of the sports, whether it be his phenomenal reign in the Big Three in the 1960’s (Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player), his delicious blend of lemonade and iced tea, or just the social impact he had on the sport.
Although I wasn’t in my prime while Palmer was, I’m still well aware of the impact that he had.
Locals and friends of mine that enjoy golf are aware of Palmer’s legacy, and realize that life is fragile. “I thought he would live forever, he’s Arnold freakin’ Palmer,” said one.
After Sunday night in the sports world and the past several months in the real world, hug your loved ones a little bit tighter this week, as two greats will never get to and we, the fans, will never get to watch them play the sport they love one final time.