Warning: This is a serious glog. No joke.

January 18, 2011

I thought that I would let everyone know up front that this is an unusual Glog for me.  I won’t be making any goofy lists and I won’t be picking on Annie (thanks for the shout-out this week, Annie!).

This is a different time of year for me, and I feel the need to share it with people.  You see, there aren’t a huge number of community members at Gould who remember the events of January 24, 2001.  Those of us who were here then already know what I’m talking about, and for those of you out in Gouldland who weren’t here or aren’t clued in yet, please bear with me while I tell a short story (and a moral at the end, of course).

January 24, 2001 (which also happens to be my half-birthday) was a beautiful, sunny, blue-sky Wednesday.  It was the day that Gould’s ski patrol decided to do our annual full-day training at Sunday River.  We left campus at about 7:45 and headed to the mountain.

All of us, that is, except for one student who asked to remain on campus so that he could finish up some math work that he owed.  I said yes, and don’t for a minute think that I haven’t relived THAT moment over and over again.

So we went out on patrol, like many days before and since.  Gorgeous day, good light, great training, better skiing.  We pride ourselves on Gould’s patrol for having some of the strongest, most aware skiers on the hill, and some of the best patrollers anywhere.  We knew that our remaining patroller would be coming up to free ski for the afternoon once his work was completed.

He was a 4-year Senior, a 4-year patroller, an amazing skier, a proctor, a 4-year advisee of the Mannings, and a person well-liked by his peers and his teachers alike.  He was the kind of kid that gave equal time to fun and work, and who made a positive impression on everyone he met, including my father.  I repeatedly heard the then-director of Sunday River’s Ski Patrol say that he was the kind of kid “he hoped that his daughter would marry someday.”  Don’t think I don’t remember that quote every time she (now 14) comes into my classroom.

Brad, the 18-year-old-bigger-than-life young man with a smile that lit up any room he walked into, died instantly that afternoon when he hit a tree, skiing on Eureka, a trail in Sunday River’s “Oz” area.  He was skiing with friends (one of whom was an ex-patroller), doing what he loved most, and was cared for in his final moments by the Patrol director who loved him so much.  His two memorial services held later that week very appropriately took place at the tops of both Sunday River, and at Sugarbush (his home mountain).  People celebrated his life on those days just as Brad had celebrated his:  By skiing.

Moral: There are so many possible morals to this story, but I think the best one is the simplest:  Brad taught many lessons in his short life- to be kind, to live and love life to its fullest, to work hard and have fun at the same time, and above all to leave lasting, meaningful memories behind with those who loved you when your time finally comes.  Ten years ago next week Gould lost one of its treasures.

What are the memories you want to leave behind someday?

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