It’s Been A Morbid 10 Days In Sports
I am a very empathetic person, especially toward people I don’t know. When I hear about a young athlete passing away, I immediately fall into a sense of sadness for that person’s loved ones.
But I have also learned that there can be comedy found in everything, including death. One of the funniest moments of my life occurred while my father was eulogizing his mother at her funeral in 1997 (long story).
I want to feel their pain while recognizing that there can be a lighter side to a tragic loss. I’m reading that back and it makes no sense. It’s very contradictory. But that’s me.
Those two sides have never clashed more than they did today when I heard about the death of Randy “Macho Man” Savage. Or, for those fans of early-70s minor league baseball, Randy Poffo. Randy was just 58 years old. I caught on to the WWF scene when he was past his prime, but he’s still a legend and gave countless legendary interviews. He was certainly an original.
When I think about how he died, I wonder how his wife of barely 12 months must have felt as she watched her strong, viral husban become stricken by his own body coupled with the horrifying experience of a car crash. What she must be going through tonight is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
But on the other hand … to wear what the Macho Man wore, to say what he said (and the way he said it), Randy knew what was he was setting himself up for when he died: a fair share of mocking. Oooooooh yeeeeeeeah! I don’t think I would be doing him right if I ignored that side of him.
But Savage’s death is just a piece of the bigger picture — loss of life has dominated the sports pages recently. And most of them have left us far too soon.
May 11: Former top-10 NBA draft pick Robert “Tractor” Traylor is found dead in a his apartment. He allegedly suffered a heart attack while talking on the phone to his wife. He was 34.
May 12: Alabama offensive lineman Aaron Douglas is found dead on a home’s second-floor balcony. He was 21.
May 13: Former Major League Baseball player and coach Mel Quinn passes away due to complications from cancer. He was 69.
May 13: New York Rangers left winger Derek Boogaard dies as a result of mixing alcohol with painkillers. He was 28.
May 17: MLB Hall-of-Famer Harmon Killebrew dies due to cancer. He was 74.
May 19: Oklahoma middle linebacker Austin Box is found dead at a home in El Reno, Okla. He was 22.
Lastly, I’ll go out of chronological order. Former UCF baseball player Josh Siebenaler died at his home in Florida on May 10. He was 23 years old.
I’ve looked around and have called a few people supposedly in the know, yet I still haven’t heard what was the cause of his death. If you stumble upon this post and know the cause, please leave a comment. Josh is the only person on this list that I knew at all. He was a UCF Knight from 2008-2009. I covered many of his home games at UCF and spoke to him a handful of times after games
On the field, he was a spark plug. He was a pesky hitter, a solid baserunner and a gritty competitor. Off the field, he was always very friendly with me and other members of the media. He was honest and had a fantastic smile to go with an uplifting attitude.
My heart goes out to his families — the one attached to him through blood and the other one attached to him through baseball. I haven’t felt anything light about his death to this point. Right now, it still feels too personal.