I decided to scroll through Facebook Saturday and saw that a high school friend, someone I ran track and played basketball with, died last month after a two-week battle with pancreatic cancer.
That came on the heels of a childhood friend who had passed away.
I know, being 52, those things happen, but sometimes we stride through life forgetting a lot of things.
The main one, of course, is just how precious life is.
We go through life trying to do our best.
We forget that the head coach we want gone has a wife and family.
We forget that what we openly whine about can be heard loud and clear by the quarterback's mother.
We forget that kids have a life that is infinitely harder that ours years and years ago.
We forget that we have no concept what someone else is going through.
We forget that kids learn a lot of things, and not all of them are good.
We forget that kids learn from kids, too.
We forget that leaders do not always lead people to do good things.
We just forget.
Males forget too often about the females in their lives.
We make too many excuses, mostly the same ones, why we won't help our future generations.
We make too many excuses in general.
Today, there are at least a dozen cases throughout the nation where high school districts are lowering GPA minimum requirements for athletes to be eligible to compete.
Twelve states and the District of Columbia impose GPA minimums for high school athletes.
The NCAA plans to raise minimum GPA in college athletes to 2.3.
In general, I believe a student's GPA is better in season than out of season.
Athletics is probably the most positive tool to keep students on their toes academically.
Since approximately 97 percent of all high school athletes do not continue their athletic careers in college, academics is of utmost importance.
And, a portion of the 3 percent who continue their athletic careers in college, do not finish their college careers in that sport, or in that same college.
"My practices aren't designed for your enjoyment," coach Norman Dale in "Hoosiers."
"You said we're a team. One person struggles, we all struggle. One person triumphs, we all triumph," Jason Lyle in "Coach Carter."
"You'll play basketball my way. My way is hard," coach Don Haskins in "Glory Road."
"Red line, back. Blue line, back. Far blue line, back. Far red line, back. And you have 45 seconds to do it. Get used to this drill. You'll be doing it a lot. Why? Because the legs feed the wolf, gentlemen. I can't promise you we'll be the best team at Lake Placid next February. But we will be the best conditioned. That I can promise you," coach Herb Brooks in "Miracle on Ice."
"Your attitude is like the aroma of your heart. If your attitude stinks, it means your heart's not right," coach Grant Taylor in "Facing the Giants."
"This is where they fought the battle of Gettysburg. Fifty-thousand men died right here on this field, fighting the same fight that we are still fighting among ourselves today. This green field right here, painted red, bubblin' with the blood of young boys. Smoke and hot lead pouring right through their bodies. Listen to their souls, men. I killed my brother with malice in my heart. Hatred destroyed my family. You listen, and you take a lesson from the dead. If we don't come together right now on this hallowed ground, we too will be destroyed, just like they were. I don't care if you like each other of not, but you will respect each other. And maybe... I don't know, maybe we'll learn to play this game like men," coach Herman Boone in "Remember the Titans."
"Surfing isn't the most important thing in life. Love is. I've had the chance to embrace more people with one arm than I ever could with two," Bethany Hamilton in "Soul Surfer."
"Getting thrown out of baseball was like having part of me amputated. I've heard that old men wake up and scratch itchy legs that been dust for over fifty years. That was me. I'd wake up at night with the smell of the ballpark in my nose, the cool of the grass on my feet ... The thrill of the grass," Shoeless Joe Jackson in "Field of Dreams."
"When you take that field today, you've got to lay that heart on the line, men. From the souls of your feet, with every ounce of blood you've got in your body, lay it on the line until the final whistle blows. And if you do that, if you do that, we cannot lose. We may be behind on the scoreboard at the end of the game but if you play like that we cannot be defeated. Now we came here today to remember six young men and sixty-nine others who will not be on the field with you today, but they will be watching. You can bet your ass that they'll be gritting their teeth with every snap of that football. You understand me? How you play today, from this moment on is how you will be remembered. This is your opportunity to rise from these ashes and grab glory. We are ..." coach Jack Lengyel in "We Are Marshall."
"Courage is a hard thing to figure. You can have courage based on a dumb idea or mistake, but you're not supposed to question adults, or your coach or your teacher, because they make the rules. Maybe they know best, but maybe they don't. It all depends on who you are, where you come from. Didn't at least one of the six hundred guys think about giving up, and joining with the other side? I mean, valley of death that's pretty salty stuff. That's why courage it's tricky. Should you always do what others tell you to do? Sometimes you might not even know why you're doing something. I mean any fool can have courage. But honor, that's the real reason for you either do something or you don't. It's who you are and maybe who you want to be. If you die trying for something important, then you have both honor and courage, and that's pretty good.
"I think that's what the writer was saying, that you should hope for courage and try for honor. And maybe even pray that the people telling you what to do have some, too," Michael Oher in "The Blind Side."
(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)