Tuesday, December 9, 2008

In Loving Memory of Harris Armstrong

I know most posts on my blog usually pertain to triathlon or some other aspect of my life but this is a special case. This is one story I feel I had to share with the rest of the world. To give some background information, I never actually met Harris Armstrong. However, I feel connected to him just the same.


His grandmother, a former student of my grandfather and friend of my family, contacted me my sophomore year of college at Florida State University after learning that I lived in Tallahassee. The first time I arranged to meet her, she baked me homemade chocolate chip cookies, a lasagna dish (my favorite), and brought me a gift bag of stationery and other assorted goodies. She recounted to me stories of how much my grandfather was loved as a professor and how much she adored my entire family. Also, when she found out that I was a student-athlete, she shared with me how much her grandson (Harris) loved athletics and what a great golfer he was becoming at such a young age. She gave me her contact information in case I was ever in a bind or just needed someone to talk to and became like a second mother to me in Tallahassee, always dropping by to bring me baked goods and check and see that I was doing ok with school and life in general.


Her grandson, Harris Armstrong, passed away last week after more than a year-long battle with cancer in his spinal cord. But by no means was his life wasted. It can be argued that he accomplished just as much in his 12 short years on this earth as some do in an entire lifetime. When he was only in 5th grade, he qualified to be on the high school golf team. Further, he was twice a runner-up in the Golf Channel's Drive, Chip and Putt National Championship.


But his athletic accomplishments or the fact that he met some of golf’s all-time greats along his journey (Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus) is not what needs to be highlighted here. Rather, the way he represented himself both as a person and an athlete. Harris exuded qualities that represent the essence of any sport: respect, character, sportsmanship, camaraderie with competitors, and most importantly, a genuine love for the game. And, he had an unwavering faith. When he first discovered that he had cancer, he did not stress- instead he prayed. Harris had a strong faith in God and took a particular liking to Romans 12:12. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. It was Harris' faith that kept him strong until the end.


I can only hope that I am able to impact as many people in my lifetime as this little ray of light did in only 12 years. I send my deepest condolences to the Armstrong family in this time of grieving. The memory of Harris will always be in our hearts.


1 comment:

Dick Hahn said...

Here is a link if you would like to read more about this special person:
http://www.tampabay.com/news/obituaries/article925511.ece