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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Remembering a Shining Star



Some years back I had the pleasure of meeting my son’s teammates and their families in little league. They seemed to be a great group of people, and they were, both on the field and off. One of his teammates was a boy named Andrew McCann.

Andrew, one year younger than my son Michael, was quite a ballplayer. Whether batting or pitching, he was exceptional. As a matter of fact, he was one of the leagues leaders in both categories… and he still had another year to play. I’d asked my son what Andrew was like in the dugout, when the parents weren’t around. His response, “Andrew's a good kid”.


As I got to know Andrew better, I realized, wow, this kid's different. But how could that be? He’s a big stud on the team and the league. He must be full of himself. After becoming friends with his parents, Bruce and Sue, and meeting his siblings, Ryan and Caitlyn, I began to understand why.

Not only was Andrew humble, he was incredibly understated for a kid with so much talent. Understated and unassuming. A pleasure to be around. Nicest kid. As polite as they come. All of these statements ring true when describing the 17 year old. In today’s youth culture, this is a rare quality. It’s hard not to be inspired by a teen with that kind of heart and talent, who is just as humble and decent.

On early morning January 26, 2012, while receiving “Happy Birthdays” from friends, I’d received one of the worst phone calls of my life: “There was a horrible accident on Route 140 and Andrew McCann is dead.”

I’ve been through a lot: many deaths of friends and loved ones, much violence, years in prison, getting separated from my wife and children for 5 years, etc., but that phone call left me numb. I even asked, “Are you sure it’s Andrew?”, hoping it was someone else. Not that I wanted anyone’s child to have died, just not Andrew.

We buried Andrew today on the last day of January, 2012. As the multitudes of people said goodbye, I couldn’t help but look up to the sunny, clear sky thinking, “Today rain was in the forecast”, but the sky was blue. As if he and his sister Jennifer were keeping the skies clear for all of us. 

I can’t ever recall a time in my life where a young man has ever made an impact on so many lives. It was evident at the wake, with thousands of people paying their respects, and again today at the funeral. An amazing star, both in sports and life, Andrew made an impact at age 17 that most could not make in a whole lifetime. He’s now with his sister Jennifer who died at the age of five.

He was our son, cousin, brother, nephew, friend, teammate, student…  and I think many would agree with me when I say: Andrew, we miss you, we love you and we’ll catch up with you... maybe not tomorrow or the next day, but one day. Until we see you again, know that you will always be in our hearts.  

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing this testament to a young man who will continue to live on. I never met him, but now I know him through you and am touched.

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  2. He was an incredible athlete and more importantly, a great kid. He led by example, not the complaining type or braggart. Just the opposite. Thanks for your comment and thoughts Jen.

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