Tuesday, March 07, 2006

A day with some mourning

It's always a sad day when people die at ages that most of us would consider to be "too soon". Today we're faced with a couple of those.

Kirby Puckett passed away yesterday after suffering a stroke. He was only 45. If you don't know him, you probably don't follow baseball at all. And you certainly aren't in your late 20's or early 30's, because if you were (like me), that meant you were in that prime baseball loving age in the late eighties and early nineties when Puckett was one of the greatest in the sport. I saw him lead his team to the title when I was eleven and again when I was fifteen. Short, stocky, and always smiling he was always a fan favorite. His career ended too soon due to eye problems and he was never my favorite player, but he always one of them.

A few years ago he came and spoke to the students at my wife's school. I still remembering her laughing hysterically at me as I poured through old shoe boxes and binders to find all my Kirby baseball cards so she could take them and maybe get one signed. Here I was, in my mid-20's, getting all excited about a baseball player. It only got worse the next day when I got there to pick her up and actually got meet the man and shake his hand. He was a hero and it was an honor and he will be missed.

Dana Reeve will always be more remembered for being married to "Superman" actor Christopher Reeve than anything else, but she is in the news today after also passing away yesterday. She was only 44. She died of lung cancer, which isn't shocking in itself, but it's pretty surprising when you consider that she never smoked.

She was also an actress, though she never did much that would be remembered. Mostly she will be remembered because after her husband was paralyzed in a horse riding accident she lead the charge with him in spinal cord research and quality of life aids for the paralyzed. She continued that work even after he passed away in 2004.

Even if you've never heard of Kirby Puckett or Dana Reeve, today should remind you of one simple fact. Life is precious and when it ends isn't always predictable or "fair" or far enough in the future. If you have a loved one, take a moment to cherish them every single day. If you don't have a loved one, get some.