It is horrifying to have to report that Rick Rypien passed away last night. Rypien was twenty-seven at the time of his death. No cause of death has been released, only the thought that his death was sudden. Rypien had just recently signed a contract with the Winnipeg Jets after playing six years in Vancouver.
Every person comes to a point in their life where they must realize that their career in sports is ending. For most people that moment comes early in life. A select few have the privilege of playing professional sports. Yet there is a crushing moment for these individuals as well, in every athletes life they must realize their limitations. Not every person who plays professional hockey will not be Wayne Gretzky. In fact, many professional athletes will never even gain the title of worst player in their sport, a title although dreaded, also usually means their was an extended career. This actualization can be debilitating for some people, especially when they have family in sports.
I bring to you a poem by A.E. Housman that hopefully holds true to Rick.
The time you won your town the race
We chaired you through the market-place;
Man and boy stood cheering by,
And home we brought you shoulder-high.
To-day, the road all runners come,
Shoulder-high we bring you home,
And set you at your threshold down,
Townsman of a stiller town.
Smart lad, to slip betimes away
From fields were glory does not stay
And early though the laurel grows
It withers quicker than the rose.
Eyes the shady night has shut
Cannot see the record cut,
And silence sounds no worse than cheers
After earth has stopped the ears:
Now you will not swell the rout
Of lads that wore their honours out,
Runners whom renown outran
And the name died before the man.
So set, before its echoes fade,
The fleet foot on the sill of shade,
And hold to the low lintel up
The still-defended challenge-cup.
And round that early-laurelled head
Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead,
And find unwithered on its curls
The garland briefer than a girl's.