This is a tough post. I, like many others, ended this past Sunday with a heavy, sad heart. The loss of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gigi, and seven other people is unimaginable. Nine lives just gone in an instant.
I’m a fan of basketball. It’s not my favorite sport. That would be baseball. However, I became an avid basketball fan in high school, drawn to an admiration for the Portland Trailblazers when the team was led by Clyde Drexel and Cliff Robinson. They did’t win the championship but they went to the playoffs and I was cool with that.
My love for basketball was reignited many years later by one name - LeBron James. I rode both waves of LeBron leading Cleveland to playoffs and eventually a true championship victory. LeBron is the main reason I began paying attention to basketball again. You couldn’t help but notice who the competition was (hello, Steph Curry) and also who James admired. He admired many but really liked Kobe. He played with him in the Olympics yet was his adversary on the court during the season. He was LeBron’s mentor and friend.
Kobe may have had his share of controversy throughout his life and career but he learned very quickly what his purpose and his drive was...family.
He wasn’t perfect. Um, who is? But he learned by working hard, focus, and from his mistakes.
Plus, he was a parent. A “girl dad”. He embraced that role with love, commitment and true purpose.
Just like my husband. He’s a “girl dad” too.
This past year, he and our oldest daughter won her softball championship. After not winning a single game the previous year. Not one. Zero. Zilch.
But that didn’t stop them. They trained, went to the batting cages, and he coached her and her teammates. They never gave up. They worked hard, played the game, and won. He was able to share his love of ball with her and they grew from it. Such a gift.
I think that is why his passing shook me to my core. Why it kept me awake. Why I couldn’t stop thinking of his wife, Vanessa and wondering how she could even remotely put one foot in front of the other. Deep down, I do know how she is doing it. Her other three daughters. The other loves of her life. Her purpose and passion. Her focus on the life that she and Kobe built together. No big salary. No fame and glamour. A family that they built together. And one that she still has with her girls. She’s a “girl mom”.
Her drive and her focus will be on raising her babies into loving, passionate, driven women that will make a difference in this world. Just like their daddy. The one that was proud to be a “girl dad”.
So what can we take away from this? Well, I’m still processing the reason why some people seem to be taken away too soon. I know next to nothing about the others that lost their lives on Sunday but I do believe that their lives were meant to serve a purpose. Perhaps more will be revealed to those of us still here, in the coming days. But until then, I believe there is something to be learned.
The immediate lessons are to:
1.) Remember to cherish each day. For every day is a gift and there is always something awesome in each day. Just look for it. You’ll find it. I promise.
2.) Love. Whoever your family is - spouse, significant other, children, or the closest of friends that become your family - love them. Tell them, show them, let them feel your love.
3.) Follow your passion. As each day is a gift, we are all given a passion. Go after it. Craft it and then share it.
Life can seem so short but it is always a gift.
Rest in peace, Kobe, Gigi, John, Keri, Alyssa, Sarah, Payton, Christina, and Ara.