As an eighth grader, I attended the event along with my parents and my brother, who was a junior on the team. Not knowing many people outside of a few parents and members of the team who I’d seen over the season, I was hoping to eat as much as I could and survive the seemingly endless portion of individual awards without saying much to anybody.
As I helped my mom arrange the food we brought from home- a salad and her classic homemade chocolate chip cookies, I looked up through the commotion to overhear Mrs. Irish, whose son Casey ran for the team, exclaim that she had forgotten to bring her laptop which contained the slideshow of the team’s season. Although a trivial matter, the banquet was nothing without reliving the memories of the season. Allowing his mother to continue helping the construction of the buffet, Casey announced to her that he would go home and grab the laptop.
It had been a considerable amount of time before I had realized how long Casey had been gone. Everybody had finished their meals, and the awards portion of the night had commenced. That’s when my mother left the room. Casey’s parents were facing a fear that every parent faces when their young child goes driving and doesn’t return for s...
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...re isn’t much that is more depressing than witnessing a mother learn of the death of her beloved son, and come to the realization that she wouldn’t even have a chance to say goodbye, or even take one last good look at her son.
A year later, I began my freshmen season of Cross Country. Even though our senior Casey wasn’t there in body, he was a part of every run and each race we had. Our banquets were never again held at the church, and “Casey’s Run” was established as a way to preserve his memory and raise scholarship money for students in the community. Even though now I am away from town, and I am no longer around to join in his memory, he still runs with me, with his initials inscribed on the interior of my sneakers. A reminder to run with the wind, and a promise with myself to live a fulfilling life full of love and happiness, in the same way Casey lived his.
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