Monday, November 3, 2014

Strange times and stranger places

Greetings all, 

I know it's been a long while since I made a post here and I graciously thank all of you who haven't given up on it. 

It's been an odd week for me, with grim bookends on either side. 

Last Sunday my favorite baseball team, the St. Louis Cardinals, lost one of their players. Twenty-two year-old Oscar Taveras had what many consider the brightest future in baseball in a considerably long time. A mythic talent with a swing that translated into pure joy and love for the game. 
Oscar was killed in a single car accident while at home in the Dominican Republic. His eighteen year-old girlfriend was with him. 
The out pouring of love and appreciation from all corners of Major League Baseball was touching and tragic all in the same whirlwind motion. 

That is how the week started for me. 

Then, last night, I got a message from my LCS owner. One of the shops most loved Magic: the Gathering players, Ben, had died. 
Ben died in a single car accident, driving on the interstate that I travel to and from work on, six days at a time. 
Ben was twenty-eight years old, and he was fighting a bought with cancer. Ben will forever be ingrained in my mind from a memory I have of the first time I met him: Ben didn't like foil cards. 
As a collector who loves flashy cards (thank Topps Chrome), and crazy variations, this really stuck out to me. 
It goes so much against all the other players I knew and know that I was stunned when Ben told me in his usual "off-the-cuff" manner. 
I didn't know Ben nearly as well as others did, and now I'm left with regret over the times I didn't say more to him. The times I didn't pick his brain, cause the guy was pretty damn smart. 
Ben will be remembered by the players in this community, and I'm sure they will have something in memorial at Friday Night Magic this week. I have work early on Saturday morning, so I will have to wait until I'm running the event next Monday to pass my condolences on to those who knew him best. 

Both of these young men were still in the stages of living, of being liked, of being appreciated, of being part of a family. 
Being twenty-six, a little over half-way between them, it's been a disconcerting time for me. 

I want to kick the dust of this blog, just to get the wheels in my head turning again. 
If you folks could help keep me accountable, I sure would appreciate it. 

Rest in Peace, Ben and Oscar. 
Thank you for all you did, and all you will inspire others to do. 

-Ruffin

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