30 years coaching experience/Worked Camps/Clinics on 5 Continents

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Boston Marathon and Indiana Basketball

(Patrick, Jr. is coach in middle, Pat, Sr. is to the right)
I do not care who it was that was responsible for the bombing at the Boston Marathon.  I don't care if it were a Muslim extremist, a right wing Christian fanatic, a ticked off teenager, or somebody that hates our government; it was terrorism.  It was the type of stupid violence that, it seems, we are going to have to get used to, unfortunately.  To see a wonderful day like Patriot's Day end the way it did is beyond wrong.  So many innocent people were injured or killed while attending what should be a wonderful spring day and the Boston Marathon in Boston, Mass.  Within one week, we now know who allegedly perpetrated these acts on the innocent people of Boston and justice has been served. It is amazing, however, how something that happens so far away can touch you personally.

My friend Pat Rady, Jr. was running in the race and was two tenths of a mile from the finish line when the first bomb went off.  He was about 30 seconds from the second bomb going off and then stopped in his tracks and was then unable to proceed to the end of the race due to the bombings.  In an email, he wrote to me:   "It was an experience I hope no one ever has to go through. I was off pace about 5 seconds a mile because of slower traffic, I should have been crossing right at the time of the explosion. My dad was given a VIP pass two days before or he would have been on the side of the bombing trying to get a picture of my brother and I finishing. God definitely has other plans for me and I know I need to step up and witness more."

Pat, Jr. was the head coach at Southwestern (Hanover) for a couple years when I was the head coach at Henryville and we became friends due to that competition.  He and I have had many conversations about what really matters most in life and you would think that something like this would not be needed for him to appreciate even more what matters most.  But he is taking it as a wake up call in his life and I believe we all need those from time to time whether it is an EF-4 tornado or the unfortunate acts of some deranged person and hurting innocent people.  We can take such a horrible, negative act and make it a positive if we choose to.  To be honest, if I were personally involved as a parent, I don't know if I could do that.  I would try, but it would be much harder, I know.

Pat's dad is Pat Rady, the head coach at Cloverdale and previously the long time basketball coach at Terre Haute South.  He was in the bleachers across from the explosion only because of the fact he was given a VIP pass two days before.  Pat Rady is the all-time wins leader in boys' basketball for active coaches with 720 wins.  He is third on the all time list overall behind only Jack Butcher at Loogootee and Howard Sharpe.  Pat Rady has coached Indiana all stars and won many games, but he was the first person to reach out to me due to some of my writings and a friendship has developed.  That's just the kind of person that he is.  He and his son are two of the best people that I know, the types of people who walk the walk of their beliefs.  Pat, Sr. wrote me and said:  "Coach:  Thank you for your thoughtfulness and prayers.  All are very much appreciated. Yes, I hope I never witness what I was a witness to see at the Boston Marathon.  However, I know you were in a situation like that last spring, thus, you know we may never get those sights out of our mind. Though we both know, Jesus will provide and we will continue with His help. Thanks again for your kind e-mail.  God Bless!!"

How many of us take for granted what we are given?  How many of get up and start each day not taking in the blessings that we all have been given?  How many of us forget that life is full of small things and the blessings are in the small things.  The Radys' were in Boston for a guys' weekend with father and two sons.  Pat's brother Michael had finished earlier in the race about 12 minutes before the explosion.  The Rady's were, like all of us, taking for granted that they would be there, they would finish up and then would get together and head home.  Sometime later after the bombings, the Rady men were able to meet up again. They met up at a yogurt shop where the younger Patrick had finally stopped to get a drink of water. Although almost all downtown businesses were closing, the shop owner stayed around until Patrick was reunited with his family.  I am sure that the embrace and tears from their reunion reinforced to them that you will never know when it is your time to leave this world.  You will never know when saying "good bye" is the last time you will do so.  Thankfully, for them, they were able to meet up again and to appreciate each other even more than usual for a chance to see each other again. 

I pray that we all learn from these type of things, that if it happens directly to us or not that we remember how truly blessed we are just by being alive.