Last night here in my corner of the Phoenix Valley, a car load of teenagers was involved in a serious accident. A fatal one, actually. I don't know what exactly happened, and I'm not sure anyone knows everything yet, but there are two things about this that stand out to me. One, a teenager was driving. And two......
The lone fatality was one of Jock's friends.
We first met this boy the summer of 2006, when the boys played on the same football team together. The coaching staff included both Coach and this boy's father, "Joe" (not really his name, but by now you all know I don't give those out here. However, I did provide the link to the story up above.). Joe was a divorced dad, who obviously adored his son. He took the time to volunteer coach for a city team in a city he didn't even live in, just so he could be as involved in his son's life as possible. And his son quite obviously adored his father. There was respect there, as well as affection; which is hard to see in a pre-teen/teenage boy. This boy, we'll call him "D", was also respectful to the other coaches, myself as Team Mom, and his teammates. I'll also point out that his teammates respected him as well, and they all genuinely liked him.
D was also an incredibly gifted athlete, and I enjoyed watching him play as much as I enjoyed watching my own son. He paid attention, and he knew the game. It was my understanding that D was also a good student, and had a full life ahead of him. And now its all over.
Jock is shocked. This is the first time he's lost a friend to tragedy. I'm praying it will be the last time, while worrying that it won't. I remember my high school years, and losing two people I cared about: one, a close friend of my younger brother's who was hit and killed by a drunk driver; and one of my very best friends who had just turned 18 and was working the graveyard shift at the local convenience store when it was robbed one night. He was shot and killed.
The oldest boy in this car was 16. The driver of the car was D's brother. They were going too fast, and only one was wearing a seat belt. If Jock takes any knowledge away from this heartache, I want him to always remember to wear his seat belt, and to not drive like Speedracer.
Losing a friend in these ways is definitely a life lesson you remember. To this day, I am vehemently against driving while under the influence of any substance at all. I am also a very big supporter of working in pairs, or more!, if you have to work at a convenience store overnight. But as much as these events shaped my life and my opinions, I never wanted my children to experience anything like it. Ever.
My heart is breaking for this family. For the community. For the other boys this group played football with. And my heart is breaking for my son, and the lesson he is hopefully going to learn here. Its one I had prayed he never had to.