The fragility of life
Accident involving Cederedge running back reminds us to appreciate what we have
On Aug. 30, at approximately 6:30 p.m., Cedaredge High School star running back, Reid Gates, stood warming up at Panther Stadium. Less than two weeks later, Gates was gone, fallen victim to a tragic carbon-monoxide poisoning accident.
According to reports, Gates was exposed to carbon monoxide after he, along with two of his teammates, decided to watch a movie inside a camper, which was housed inside a garage. Apparently, the camper was heated by a generator, and when the generator was started, carbon monoxide spread throughout the enclosure, poisoning the boys.
Although all three young men were airlifted to St. Luke’s Medical Center in Denver, Gates did not survive. As of Sept. 11, Aaron Henrie and Tyler Cooper remained in the hospital.
From everything that I gather, Gates was a standout individual. A three-sport athlete who excelled in football, basketball and track and field, Gates rushed for 876 yards and scored 12 touchdowns as a member of Cedaredge’s 1A state-champion football team, averaged 17.4 points per-game for the Bruins’ basketball team and was crowned 3A state champion in the high jump.
Gates was also a standout student in high school who garnered straight A’s and aspired to possibly attend the Air Force Academy.
After hearing about Gates’ death on Sept. 10, I was, like so many who knew of the tragedy, deeply saddened. The more I thought about it, the more questions came to mind. First and foremost was, how could such an unlucky and untimely death strike such an outstanding and innocent individual? How could life be taken from someone so young, so strong and so ready to do great things?
I won’t find any answers to my questions because in all honesty, there are no answers. The best that anyone can come up with is that the world works in strange ways. Tragedies come without reason. Deaths can be so unfair.
While it is difficult to find meaning in such a tragedy, I believe that Gates’ story forces us to reassess our own lives in their entirety. I hope that in doing so, we all develop greater appreciation for what we have. With any luck, we will be reminded that all things, regardless of how stable or strong they may appear, can vanish quickly and without warning. I hope we will recognize that our time on Earth is anything but infinite; the gift of life is one that must be cherished because, at the end of the day, life is a gift that can quickly disappear.
It is with a genuinely heavy heart that I send my deepest condolences to Gates’ family, friends and the entire Cedaredge community. Although I am aware that nothing that I write can quell your sadness, know that I, along with many individuals throughout this community are thinking of you all.
Also, we are thinking of our own lives, hopefully more conscious of our own fragility and the fragility of those around us. Such consciousness, such awareness, in and of itself, is a gift.
For those of us who receive that gift from Reid’s story, we are eternally indebted.