Last week I logged into facebook and saw that there were several status updates from friends from high school that referred to the death of an individual in their lives. It's not everyday that you see this, but when you see it from several different people that you know, there is no denying that you're going to know the individual who's life was taken too soon. I kept looking over the updates and found a friend who I graduated with that was currently online. I clicked on her name and began chatting with her and asked her who the "Nate" was in her status update. She stated that it was Nathan Allen, a kid in which I had played baseball and football with in high school. There are many things that we as individuals try to be or convince others that we are, but in the end it's how we live our lives that others will remember. Nathan was all about having fun and could make you laugh even when we were facing 3rd & 25, we were 99 yards from our own endzone and we were down by 35.
I'll never forget my senior year of high school football and our 0-10 season (no kidding...we didn't win a game the entire year). One of our best players on the team was our quarterback and a great player on defense was walking out of the locker room when all of a sudden his knee locked up. We thought he was goofing around, but it was actually pretty serious. With it being the first couple of weeks into the season we were forced to go with the JV starting quarterback...yep...Nathan. I remember the first few days of him being the QB he wasn't comfortable being a Sophomore and having to lead the varsity team and taking the place of a very popular multi-sport athlete in our area. I remember time after time when we played teams that were bigger, stronger and faster than we were and often times Nathan would drop back to pass and receive the hardest hits because we weren't very good lineman. Hit after hit he would get up and brush himself off and then get back into the huddle. After a few games like any normal person Nathan got sick and tired of taking a pounding and eventually would look a few players in the eye and tell them to step up their game because he was tired of being knocked into the ground. Of course, Nathan used much more colorful language and rightlyfully so. Would you want to be smashed into the ground repeatedly by 250 + pound guys every Friday night?
Nathan was who he was on and off the field...it was a pleasure of mine to watch him grow into a leader right there on that field. At first you could tell he was severally uncomfortable being loud and boisterus on the field to get our attention, but a few weeks into the position he was the loudest on the field and attempting to make riches out of our raggedy team. The song below is a song that made me think of Nathan. He lived his life so that everyone saw him and he hid nothing. He was the most real person I ever met and I wish I would have known him better. This song reminded me of him and has reminded me that I need to be real to ever person I come in contact with. To not keep things hidden and become someone that I'm not.
Crossfade - "Cold"
Looking back at me I see
That I never really got it right
I never stopped to think of you
I'm always wrapped up in
Things I cannnot win
You are the antidote that gets me by
Like a drug that gets me high
What I really meant to say
Is I'm sorry for the way I am
I never meant to be so cold to you
And I'm sorry about all the lies
Maybe in a different light
You could see me stand on my own again
Cause now i can see
You were the antidote that got me by
Something strong like a drug that got me high
I never meant to be so cold
I never really wanted you to see
The screwed up side of me that I keep
Locked inside of me so deep
It always seems to get to me
I never really wanted you to go
So many things you should have known
I guess for me theres just no hope
I never meant to be so cold
You were a great man on and off the playing fields. I feel priveledge to know you and to even say that I was able to play sports with you. I'll never forget hitting a homerun and hitting your mom's car parked in the parking lot behind the baseball diamond. I didn't know if I could celebrate hitting a homerun or be scared that I was going to have to get a part-time job to pay for your mom's car. Your laugh was contagious and you whit was like none other. You had a way of not only making everyone like you, but made them enjoy being around you. I'll never forget seeing you in the stands at all the basketball game wearing those huge aviator sunglasses and acting like you didn't have a care in the world. I wish I could have gotten to know you better and kept in touch with you. There are a lot of things I wish I could have known about you since your dad lived across the street from my parents for awhile. While I was home from school I would often see your car parked there and watch the lights flicker on and off from the parties you had late into the night. Just once I wish I would have walked across the street and said hello to you while I was home from school. I wish I would have taken the time to just catch up with you and joke around about our days of playing sports together. The things like baseball and football seemed so important in those days, but now are just a memory. It pains me to think that I never got to see you again except if you were sitting out on your dad's porch when I drove by, but I know you lived life to the fullest and have inspired many more to do the same.
I'll miss you man!