Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash yesterday, at the all too tender age of 41, with his oldest daughter, Gigi, only 13 years old. It was not just Kobe, but Orange baseball head coach John Altobelli. If the last name Altobelli sounds familiar, it should because John’s nephew, Bo Altobelli, played for Texas Tech from 2009 through 2012, and one of John’s daughters. They were apparently headed to a basketball game or practice for the two girls.
This is less about Kobe, and more about what it means to die at an all too early age. Before your time has come. I watched something the other day, of all things a Casey Neistat video that I’m too lazy to link. The premise of the idea was that when we’re young, life is about all of the things that we think we will be and accomplish. Life is not the past when you’re 18 or 22 and fresh-eyed and the entire world in front of you. Who you are is who you hope to be. By the time you cross your mid-thirties or forty, it starts to become less of who you think you might be and more of what you’ve done. It’s probably 50/50, both looking forward and looking back. By the time that you’ve maybe reached the twilight of your life, maybe you are most thankful for the waking up and the day in front of you. That’s not necessarily a bad thing because you are focused on the now and the now is so incredibly important. Based on Kobe’s recent interviews, being the coach for his daughter’s team he was probably making that transition from being who you want to be, to being who your history says that you were and being there for your kids.
I’m far from perfect. God knows that I have serious flaws. Flaws that I battle every day, whether it’s here on the blog, at work, at home.
But I do know that if you ever wonder why there’s not more content on the blog (or if I’m not more successful at my job), it’s because I spend more and more time with my kids, especially the older I get. I ran 10 miles before 7:30 on Saturday morning so I could take Youssouf to one of his soccer games. Fitsum had been talking about making a new board game, so I bought him some dungeon and dragons dice and opened up a cardboard box and we made a board game after Yoyo’s soccer game. We’ve decided that we’re watching the Mandalorian as a family, so that’s now part of our routine. Even though I’m supposed to take Sunday’s off from running (we all need rest days), Fitsum wanted to run outside, so we go for a 2.5 mile run. Just the two of us. Or working on those left-handed layups with Yoyo yesterday before lunch. We’ve started to do “rose, rose, thorn, bud” at dinner which are two good things from the day, one bad thing (because bad things happen and that’s part of life) and one thing you’re looking forward to for tomorrow. As stand-alone items, these are all inconsequential events, and they are all things that are taking me away from other things that I could be doing. I’m always behind in writing, my to-do list at work is significant. These are all things that are not making me better in any discernible way. I’m not advancing my career. I’m not making the blog better.
But I can say that my life is infinitely better because of these seemingly inconsequential events. Yes, that West Virginia preview has not been written and I could probably write a novel about various aspects regarding the football program. It’s part of the reason I get up at 3:30 a.m., so that all of these things that have to get done are done and I can be present for my kids, which still has it’s own challenges in this digital age with phones and whatever else. I’d rather let these inconsequential events add up because before you know all of those events will be incredibly significant when it’s your day.
Hopefully your kids will remember the morning you took him to a soccer game (that he absolutely dominated) and the afternoon you helped him make a board game (he was beaming at his very own board game) or any other handful of inconsequential events. I can promise that they’ll add up over time and they’ll be worth something.