Saturday, November 3, 2007

Ryan, Alberto and Denzel

Thinking of three people.. each one because of their heart.

Ryan Shay. You may have heard. Collapsed and died at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in New York. Tremendous sadness. Cast a pall all over the Big Apple this weekend as thousands are there for the Marathon Sunday.

Alberto Salazar. The great marathoner was profiled in Sports Illustrated this week. Detailed his heart attack in recent times. And also talked of how he felt another one likely to come on. How he alertly sensed one was in the offing. How they needed to open up one artery that was 90 percent blocked. Doctors thought it was 30 percent blocked.

How Alberto ran his competition into the ground all those years and came close many times to running himself right into a casket. He taunted death many times.

The third person is 15 year Denzel Douglas of Lakewood High School in suburban Cleveland. Denzel had a heart transplant in Summer of 06. 3 weeks ago, the body rejected the heart and he spiralled downward. He lasted about 2 weeks. He was buried on Friday. Buried in a Braylon Edwards Cleveland Browns jersey.

I never knew Denzel, although I visited him at the Cleveland Clinic as he was fighting for his life. I met his cousin, Darla. I hugged his Mom Tara and tried to buoy her spirits. Denzel was unconscious, as the best heart professionals in the world did all they could to save him.

He was an immensely popular young man who always made everyone around him feel good.

I wonder why Denzel never got his chance to play basketball for Lakewood High. Why Denzel's picture had to be in an obituary column in the paper and why it came to a point where kids were wearing tee shirts with his picture on them. Why was his time so short.

I often think that we are given so many beats of our hearts. My ticker is in great shape. So might be yours. However there are no guarantees. Denzel had not a care in the world until last summer. Ryan Shay was trying to represent his country in the Olympics. Glory in athletics was what he was after. Alberto Salazar dodged death. He has a second chance and is turning young athletes into champions.

So, I guess what I am wondering come the big guy has allowed me to be here..right now...age 54... dreaming of racing triathlons .?? Why do I get each day?? What am I doing with each day??? Am I too consumed with training while missing the big picture.???

A heavy heart still beats, just the same.


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