Our fraternity was "dry", meaning we couldn't host parties or drink in the house, but that didn't stop people from heading out on the weekends. Joel enjoyed a beer or two and had nothing against drinking, but every weekend he stayed sober so he could play the designated driver. Why? Just because that's who he was. On Sunday morning while we slept off our hangovers, Joel would get up and walk himself to church all by himself.
One of the best memories I had with Joel was driving back to his hometown in NE Kansas for a weekend softball tournament. His dad's team needed a couple more players to enter the tournament, so we agreed to come up and fill in. When we got there we realized we were stuck with a bunch of drunks in their late 40's. My 6'6" overweight self ended up switching between SS and CF. That tells you all you need to know. We ended up in the loser's bracket, meaning we were stuck with a game at around 2 AM. It was hovering around 32 degrees and Joel and I were the only sober guys on the field. Somehow we won and were rewarded with a 6 AM game. The other team only had 6 or 7 players show up, so we run ruled them pretty quickly. We then got a game at noon where we were severely trounced by a team of bulky Indians from the nearby reservation. Through all of this ridiculousness, Joel and I had a blast. We were sicker than a pair of dogs on Monday, but I'd give anything to man the most-pathetic-middle-infield-ever-assembled one more time with him.
For the last few years Joel has been working for his local school district as a counselor for troubled youth. While driving home on a 2 laned highway Tuesday from one of the last days of school, a 77 year old man in a Ford Explorer veered across the highway and hit Joel's Nissan head on, rolling it several times. Joel had his seatbelt on, the driver who hit him did not. Joel and the other man were pronounced dead at the scene.
I've had plenty of physical ailments that I'd trade for in a heartbeat if I could drop the grief. Being a young single man, I don't have a lot of folks to talk to about my feelings, so spitting them out here helps a lot. His funeral is Saturday and I'm afraid I'm still stuck in the denial stage. Really it feels like every stage of grief keeps hitting me in a cycle. There's not much more I can say right now to feel better. If there's internet in heaven and Joel gets to read this, I hope he knows how much he meant to me and so many others.
I had hoped to talk about the new A&G Relic Exchange Program I set up, but I just don't have it in me right now. Thanks for sticking with me and reading this.
Sorry to hear about Joel. Friends like that are rare. I pray you get to see him again some day.ReplyDelete
Wow..I'm sorry to hear about your friend. Sounds like he was a great, selfless guy who touched many lives.ReplyDelete
Sorry for your loss. That really sucks.ReplyDelete
Joel is and will be there in your heart for the rest of your life.ReplyDelete
Sorry for your loss. Losing a best bud is very difficult. Treasure those memories like that marathon tournament and your college days.ReplyDelete
RE: The A&G Relic Exchange Program. I need to check to see what I've got, I'm not real big into relics so could I donate some? I'm more of an auto guy. Also is it strictly for Baseball relics or are some of the other sports or non-sport relics acceptable? I might have some non-baseball ones, again I need to check what I have to send.
Wow. My thoughts are with you. I'm here if you need someone to talk to.ReplyDelete
Sorry for your loss my friend.ReplyDelete
Sorry to hear about your buddy. Great lossReplyDelete
I'm sorry. Joel sounds like a great guy who will be rewarded.ReplyDelete
Sorry to hear about Joel. He sounds like a great person. Friends like that are tough to come by.ReplyDelete
I'm sorry, man. It's worse when it happens so young, I know.ReplyDelete
So sorry to hear about your loss. Very sad. Hang in there.ReplyDelete
Joel knows every word you said and more.ReplyDelete
He's going to be always in your heart till you meet again on the other side.
So sorry about your loss, great friends are tough to come by. Try to remember the good times, sounds like he was a great guy.ReplyDelete
Sorry for your loss. Your buddy sounds like a class act. There's not a doubt in my mind that he's read all of these kind words you've written and appreciates every single one of them.ReplyDelete
Life is precious. Sounds like Joel was a great person. Sorry for your loss.ReplyDelete