Virg Foss commentary: In a flash, life's path can be altered
I was reading a story the other day about Travis Roy. It hit home again how fleeting the fortunes of life are, how rapidly they change. Roy, a freshman hockey player at Boston University, was 11 seconds into his first shift as a college player in...
I was reading a story the other day about Travis Roy. It hit home again how fleeting the fortunes of life are, how rapidly they change.
Roy, a freshman hockey player at Boston University, was 11 seconds into his first shift as a college player in 1995 when he crashed head-first into the end boards in the season-opening game against UND.
In a flash, he was paralyzed. "This was going to be the best day of my life," he said later, of reaching his dream of playing college hockey.
Roy has done wonderful things since that accident aborted his dream. He's set up a foundation bearing his name to help others dealing with paralysis or researching possible treatments or cures.
Life indeed changes in a flash.
I was watching the NDSU football playoff game a week ago against Eastern Washington. With about two minutes to go, the Bison led by a touchdown and seemingly had an upset victory in hand.
There's no way that Eastern Washington, I thought, could drive the length of the frozen, slippery field against the Bison to tie it up with its great running back sidelined with an injury.
Yet, the Bison gave up that tying touchdown. And then gave up a TD on the first play of overtime in losing to Eastern Washington.
Instead of the Bison making an improbable run to the Football Championship Subdivision semifinals, the season ended on a controversial fumble on NDSU's chance with the ball in overtime.
Whether the officials made the right call on that fumble can be debated a long time, and no doubt will.
But I figured if the Bison couldn't stop Eastern Washington from driving the length of the field to tie it in regulation, and couldn't stop one play in OT, they didn't make much of a case in my mind for themselves as rightful winners.
Without any of the dire consequences that faced Travis Roy, the fortunes of football playoff life changed in a matter of minutes for the Bison a week ago.
It's a stark reminder for us to make the most of what we value in life, be it friends, family or faith.
I've been planning on a trip to Northfield, Minn., soon to spend time with my mother Maebel as she celebrates her 102nd Christmas.
I'll take Mom up to my sister's home in Eden Prairie for Christmas Eve dinner, where we'll be joined by extended family members.
Yet in another example how life changes in a heartbeat, my sister received a phone call from her oldest daughter the other day telling my sister she just learned she has breast cancer.
Karin is the oldest of my sister's three children. She's always held a special place in my heart. She is the first baby I ever changed diapers on. It embarrasses her to this day when I mention that. So, I won't.
In just over a week, I'll be with a small group of the Foss family, celebrating Christmas, but dealing with some tough news coming from Karin from Kittery, Maine.
Travis Roy was set to embark on the best day of his life 15 years ago. The Bison football team was ready to celebrate a monumental playoff victory a week ago. We were set to celebrate Christmas in normal fashion until this week.
Life changes constantly for all of us. How we deal with that charts our path through life.
Foss is a Hall of Fame journalist who reported on sports for 36 years for the Herald until his retirement. He writes a weekly column from October through April. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (701) 772-9272.