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06/23/2014

A lesson of Richard Durrett's passing

DALLAS, Texas - It was yesterday I was playing a pickup basketball game at TCU with Richard Durrett, and today I attended his memorial service.

Of course, it wasn't yesterday the two of us were playing basketball. It was 1998. It just feels like yesterday.

Dm_140618_mlb_news_durrett_reader744On Monday morning at Northway Church in North Dallas, ESPN reporter Richard Durrett was memorialized by a pair of former colleagues, and leaders of this church, of which he and his family were members. The sanctuary was, not surprisingly, packed with friends, colleagues and the people he used to cover, including Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington and former Dallas Stars/Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks, among many others.

Since Richard's death last Tuesday, the sports media members, and pro athletes, who knew Richard have expressed their sadness and shock. This was my column the morning after I learned he died. Richard would have been shocked, and embarrassed, at the reaction his passing justifiably generated.

As in the time of any tragedy, one of the immediate reactions is to preach, "Live each day as if it's your last." This is especially true when someone as young as Richard, who was 38, dies.

Immediately after 9/11, Americans all promised to work less, love more, to enjoy life, etc. Didn't quite hold up.

"Living each day as if it's our last" is outstanding, and not possible. If we lived each day as if it were our last, absolutely nothing would get done and no one would ever, ever go to work.

RichardRichard's death is more of a notice of the staggering number of people who impact your life, and the many colors they add to your life's canvas. Richard's death is a reminder of not only how much time the two of us spent together so long ago, but that he mattered so much and I was not even aware of it. Over the last 10 years, a friendship that began in 1996 had simply evolved and changed. Geography, career, among many other factors, were contributors.

It was not until he died did I realize how all of the time and experiences we shared, and how many others there are just like that. People from middle school, high school, college and beyond. People who, in a selected time frame, mattered but for whatever reason have moved on, or elsewhere. Their moving on does not make their significance any less.

Monday's memorial was a reminder that Richard mattered to so many. 
Monday's memorial is not a call to live each day as it were your last.
Monday's memorial is more of a call to let the people that mattered in your life to know it.

A friend, a teacher, a coach, a family member, a co-worker ... they're there. Try not to wait until they are gone to let them know they made a difference on you.

 

Richard Durrett
Oct. 13, 1975 - June 17, 2014

Richard Durrett Family Fund
c/o Liberty Bank
3880 Hulen Street suite 100
Fort Worth, Texas 76107

texasrangers.com/foundation

@MacEngelProf
tengel@star-telegram.com
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