Friday, April 07, 2006

Life ...

... is fleeting. No one really has to be told that these days, what with the growing casualty list out of the Middle East dominating the current news cycle. God knows no one has to tell me that, as I have a sobering reminder of that each morning when, after my shower, I look in the mirror and see that very long scar on my belly, under which somebody else's liver has resided for the past 16-plus years. Yeah, life isn't a permanent condition, but that doesn't mean that you can't still get royally pissed off when it's swiped away from someone for what seems to be no good reason.

Three weeks ago Maggie Dixon was on top of her world. The 28-year-old has become one of the fuzzy feel-good moments of the college basketball world. In her first year as the head coach of Army's women's basketball team - a job she had taken just 10 days before the season began - she had taken her young squad to the NCAA tournament, an impressive accomplishment considering the Lady Black Knights had been a nondescript program beforehand. What's more, Dixon had made history as half of the first brother-sister tandem to ever coach their teams into the NCAAs in the same season, as her beloved older brother Dixon had led the University of Pittsburgh's men's squad to the Big Dance. The biggest dilemma the Dixons' parents had was how to watch both games in the same weekend. The fact that both Jamie and Maggie lost their respective first-round games didn't dampen the ebullient occasion for the family. After all, the future was bright for both of them.

That was three weeks ago. This morning, Maggie Dixon is dead, struck down in the prime of her life by what at this point remains a mysterious cardiac arrhythmia suffered while at West Point, hours after having breakfast with her brother.

One can only imagine what the siblings talked about over their last meal together - I would guess their conversation was filled with the excitement both Maggie and Jamie had to still be feeling over their own fortunes, and each other's. Maggie definitely was a rising star among her ranks, a talented and energetic young woman who had charmed her players and peers with her magnetic charm. One photo that sticks in my head centered on Maggie Dixon giving one of her players a chest bump following a thrilling win. It was a moment of pure joy.

Yeah, the future was bright for Maggie Dixon. Now, she has no future.

I am not a religious person for reasons I will not get into at this juncture. But I believe in God wholeheartedly. The fact that I am still alive is for me proof that God exists. But there are times when I don't get God, when I'm even angry at God for the stuff that sometimes occurs on this mortal plane. This is one of those times. They always say that there is a purpose for everything. But why this young, vital woman lies dead less than a month after such a huge personal and professional triumph, with everything ahead of her - I don't get that, and I really don't want to get that. Even if it inspires her brother, her players, total strangers who never met Maggie Dixon in some way, I'm not sure it justifies her abrupt passing.

It's just not fair. But no one said life is fair, I guess.

It definitely is fleeting, though.

Read more about Maggie Dixon by clicking the subject line above.

1 comment:

Beth said...

Good post, Dave. Sad story, and hard to comprehend, but you wrote about it well. As usual.