My friend and teammate, Nate Thurmond passed away this Saturday morning. He was suffering from Leukemia, which means he is no longer suffering. For this we can all be thankful. The sorrow we feel is for his beloved wife, Marci, and for the rest of us who will miss Nate's awesome presence.
I've read most of the media tributes to Nate. So many great memories of a great man. Trying to figure out what I could possibly add, I found myself wanting to start this blog with: ditto, ditto, yeah, ditto. And end the blog with: ditto.
But there had to be something I could say about my friend that was unique.
Perhaps this: There is only one moment in life that we can truly call life and that is the moment of our birth. From that time on we are practicing for death. Therefore, at the moment of our death, we should be the best person we can be. Best meaning the following: trying one's hardest to maximize all of one's physical and mental talents, while being kind, gentle, generous, modest, loving, and empathetic.
At the moment of his death, Nate Thurmond had achieved this state of greatness. He did not arrive at this condition without practice. One could say that throughout his life, Nate was on the practice court honing his skills. Nate showed us how to live and Nate showed us how to die.
Nate the Great by Tom Meschery
You told me you wanted to be remembered
the way you were. I thought of the greatest centers
in the NBA whose dreams you turned into nightmares.
So I didn't come to visit you in the hospital
where you lay, dying of leukemia.
I couldn't picture you minus your greatness
dressed in a silly gown, no hospital bed long enough
to maintain your dignity, when you were always,
on the basketball court and off, a man of dignity.
Instead, I think of you in a dark, well-tailored
double-breasted suit, leaning on your cane,
wearing dark glasses, looking like a diplomat
on a visit to the United States of Basketball
here, to explain that the country of Nate Thurmond
was at peace with the world and never to fear death.
What my musings are all about...
Blogging might well be the 21st century's form of journaling. As a writing teacher, I have always advised my students to keep a daily journal as a way of organizing their thoughts for future writing projects, a discipline I have unfortunately never consistently practiced myself. By blogging, I might finally be able to follow my own good advice.
The difference between journaling and blogging is that the blogger opens his or her writing to the public, something journal- writers are usually reluctant to do. I am not so reticent.
The trick for me will be to avoid cluttering the internet with more blather, something none of us need more of. If I stick to subjects I know: sports and literature, I believe I can avoid that pitfall. I can't promise that I'll not stray from time to time to comment on ancillary subjects, but I will make every attempt to be interesting and perhaps even insightful.