Received a call this weekend from family back East, notifying me a friend I grew up with had died. The call left me feeling weird, unsettled .. even more than when my parents died.
During a golf tournament (I hear), Patrick's wife tossed him a golf ball, while he was sitting in a golf cart. Reaching for it, he somehow fell out and hit his head.
In a coma, his brain swelled so much that doctors performed surgery to remove part of it. After 20 days, they pulled the plug (seeing they'd removed so much brain tissue). Can you believe it?
What's ironic, is that Patrick was the best catcher of balls I ever knew. He was all-State in high school, and 1st string all-American wide receiver (for class B schools) in college.
He broke (and set) all kinds of pass-receiving records at every school he attended. (Most receptions in a single season, in a career, most TDs, most yardage ... most, most, MOST!)
In high school, his nickname became 'Lance' .. after all-Pro wide-receivers of the day. He had hands like glue.
We grew up in a suburb of New Haven. There were four of us who were very close. Patrick lived across the street. Being so athletic, he's the last (of us 4) anybody would expect to die early.
He wasn't very big, which is probably why he wasn't drafted by the Pro's, but he was super-fast, and would catch any ball he could touch. In all our years of growing up, I only saw him lose one foot-race (to Billy Sullivan, who was 2 or 3 years older) .. and not by much
If you touch it....
Growing up, I often played against him, 1-on-1, with my cousin playing steady-quarterback (for both of us). Now, let me say that, playing against anybody else, I could go out for a long-bomb .. and even with 4 or 5 guys around me, still come down with the ball .. most of the time. But playing against Lance, he'd come down with it every time. "If you touch it," he'd say, "you should catch it." (And he did.)
So you can see how it's especially ironic he died while trying to catch a ball. Perhaps it was this philosophy that caused him to reach farther than he should've.