Friday, May 06, 2011

To Danny Tschind-Kassap

 I have seen something else under the sun:

   The race is not to the swift

   or the battle to the strong,

nor does food come to the wise

   or wealth to the brilliant

   or favour to the learned;

but time and chance happen to them all.

 Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come:

   As fish are caught in a cruel net,

   or birds are taken in a snare,

so people are trapped by evil times

   that fall unexpectedly upon them.

                                      --Ecclesiastes 9:11-12

I remember hearing the news of Danny's heart attack two and a half years ago.  I remember talking to a coworker (a doctor) who worked in an ICU in a major hospital, and him telling me that no matter how stressed the athlete a 26 year old shouldn't have a heart attack.  I remember being in awe of the fact that it had happened in what was the perfect place (short of a hospital) to have a heart attack. High profile race, where the world record would eventually be set.  Early in the race where there were still a lot of people.  I knew then that had it happen on a training run, even with us (& no defibrillator) he wouldn't have made it then.  I remember being grateful, not for the heart attack, but for it happening in the place that it did.

I remember talking about it with Danny, shortly after he came back.  How he felt it was a second chance.  How fortunate he was, to not only survived, but to recover quickly.  He had amazed the doctors, much like he always amazed us.  I could tell, even then, he was going to run again. 

"To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the Gift." -- Steve Prefontaine

How could he not?  It was his passion.  As a runner, few had his talents and fewer still had his passion for it.  No matter how fast he was going, he always looked like this was an easy pace.  His running style was the definition of smooth.  I don't know how many workout I've done with him, but they were never enough. He never raced you in a workout, he would often pause slight, match your pace, then try to pull you along.   It always gave me extra lift when he ran by me.  Even when he didn't say one word, I always came out thinking to run faster.  It was inspiring to be beaten by him.  His passion was running, but his gift was his generosity.  I have no doubt that if he had the time, he would have made a major splash.  With his talent and his work ethic, how could he not?

But it's not Danny the runner I'll miss.  It's Danny, a friend, a man of a generous heart, who I'll miss.

It's hard to believe I wont see him again.  I wont see him fly by, smooth strides belaying his speed.  His gold chain the only sign of hard effort.  I wont see his trademark smile, his easy laugh and joking manner.

I can't believe the years will pass, and he will not be there.  He wont see my life change, I wont see his.  I wont see him getting old and watch his children play.  He wont see mine.  We wont make a bet to see who's kid will be faster, all the while hoping that both our kids will be fast regardless.  But instead he's gone.

A friend dad happen to be praying for him at 1am on the night of his heart attack.  He'd been praying for Danny for the last two and a half years.  So maybe we didn't get robbed of his life.  Maybe instead we received an extra 2.5 years with him.  We got the extra opportunity to get to know him better.  Instead of losing him suddenly in 2008, we got to keep him around until 2011.

And maybe, when this is said and done, when we go join him, we will meet again.  Where we can spend more time with one another. 

For this I hope and pray.

Thank you Danny, for being yourself.

ሰላም  ዮሃንስ


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absolutely perfect.

10:03 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautifully expressed. Thank you.

12:31 p.m.  

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