Fond Recollections Of a Friend and Colleague Dying Young
When one of your friends passes away at a young age, you suddenly start seeing the world in a new light. Former Syracuse University tight end and football broadcaster Chris Gedney was found dead late last week at the age of 47. I got the news while visiting a college friend who was recovering from a recent heart attack.
My connection to Gedney came through pre-game shows on the Syracuse University Football radio network (airing on Townsquare Media's recently-acquired rock station, WOUR), where we previewed the Orange's games for years.
While driving home from Boston, processing my friend's heart attack and Gedney's death, I passed a car on the New York State Thruway with a bumper sticker reading THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE AREN'T THINGS. It's a sentiment I've often had, but this time the message really hit home.
A good life is full of tactile sensations, memorable sights and smells, shared stories and experiences distilled into poignant moments.
My favorite moments with Chris Gedney were not about football. They revolved around lyrics from one of his favorite bands, Crowded House, that he might weave seamlessly into the discussion. Or, maybe a quote from "Wedding Crashers" or some other movie he had committed to memory.
He was an insightful football analyst, but he was a good conversationalist on aspects of life other than football. All of which makes his death even sadder to me.
Depending on your age, you probably watched Gedney catch touchdown passes for Liverpool High School or the Orange, and/or saw him performing on Sundays for the Bears or Cardinals in the NFL, and/or listened to him analyze or preview games on the radio. So, this is sad for you as well, because you felt a real connection to Gedney.
He had experienced colitis and painful gridiron injuries and a painful divorce. He also had found a new love in his life and he was a dedicated dad to his children.
We talked about all of that while golfing if we had a little time between his fundraising duties and my broadcasts while on the road at away games. (The photo above was snapped at a course in Greensboro during Syracuse's first ACC Basketball Tournament appearance in 2014.)
There should be better ways to gauge a person's suffering and provide more satisfactory assistance, adjustment and relief for those in pain. Until science finds a way to accomplish all of that, we're left to shake our heads in sadness for Chris Gedney and others, and wonder why and what if....