In Memory of Edgar Gonzalez
Aug. 24, 2007
I first met Edgar about 5 years ago; he was taking a PE tennis class that I was teaching. He was the most skilled student in the class, so he would encourage and help his classmates. What was amazing about this was that he would do this without making his classmates feel like he was superior to them and without making me feel like he was taking my job. He was amazing like that. He definitely left an impact on me just from that class. Fast forward to April 2006; Edgar calls me out of the blue and asks if I remember him, and if he can help me out in any way, in terms of coaching. I remember saying, "Of course," to both questions, without the need to think or hesitate. After the fall season, we sometimes talked about his career path, and sometime during the winter he decided that he would like to be a head coach at the college level someday. This was a huge step for someone who was truly able to see the good and find the happiness in any and every possible type of job or state of being there is. Edgar was great at coaching. I think he knew that. You'd have to be pretty dense not to see that. He was an amazing motivator, teacher, and provided tons of encouragement. He loved to challenge, to be and feel challenged, and to completely feel and love every single moment of his life. I miss Edgar immensely, but I'd like to think that wherever he is, he's doing great. His presence will always be felt and I am so very thankful that we ever ran into each other.
Edgar man, you were one strange guy when I met you. Not knowing anything about you, they put us together as a team for a tennis tournament. Oddly enough, we made to the finals, go figure. At first, I was skeptical about your ways, but as everyone else can agree to, I quickly was aware of what you were trying to do. We became friends and you were an ear that I could trust. Just speaking with you, I know you didn't go young, but went with an undeniable passion for learning life. And you accomplished it. Your life is surrounded with so much mystery and it surely carried you away. Mystery will miss you and so will all of us. I'll visit you soon. Oh, and I want my tennis racquet back. Your's for mine, fair trade?
Edgar's enthusiasm was remarkable. He was always ready to give it his all on the tennis court, where it was easy to see how much he loved the sport. His positive attitude was contagious. Edgar made it easy to work hard at practice and he gave you the confidence to play harder in a match. He was always prepared with a compliment, joke, or a story to tell. With Edgar around you were guaranteed to smile. I'll never forget how kind he was to me during my freshman year at MIT. I will truly miss him as a coach and friend.
What couldn't Edgar do? All the girls on the team could count on his overwhelming enthusiasm to make us forget about being at school while at tennis practice. My favorite Edgarism was his comments during drills: "You're super", "Beautiful", "Amazing!" and every time he said it, we took it as personal encouragement. I have never wanted to work so hard for something so simple as the words "Awesome job Mariah" after a drill was over. He told me to bring on the intensity during changeovers and I would be able to take it to the next level because I knew Edgar would if he were playing instead of me. While he may be gone, his passion gave me a year of tennis I will take with me into my senior year.
Edgar was one of the most positive people I have ever met. He was a huge part of the team's morale and attitude. His influence will be with us always.
A friend once told me that she loves celebrating even the smallest things in life, because if you stop celebrating the little things, life gets boring. I think one of the things I loved most about Edgar and learned most from him is how wonderful it is to live that way - always with a smile, always excited about the littlest of things. I never ever heard Edgar complain about anything; I only knew him to be praising people, my teammates and our opponents alike, and seeing all the good in every aspect of any situation. In every match and practice situation, the energy that Edgar gave to the tennis and team environment was undeniable, and it was contagious. There was no way to slip past Edgar with a bad attitude or unhappy day; he guaranteed a smile, both on his face and yours, just by being himself. I am so grateful for the year of tennis that I got to share with Edgar. I was looking forward to so much more; I couldn't wait to see what this year would bring. Although the tennis season won't play out in just the way that I imagined it, with Edgar physically there at every practice and match, I know that his impact on the team was so strong that it will not be forgotten. I think it must be every coach's dream to teach the individuals on their team lessons that will last longer than the regular practices and competitions that the player and coach share. With that in mind, I must say I am still excited about the upcoming season, and especially excited to see the magic that Edgar performs as our coach, even when he is far, far away. Thank you, Edgar, for all the lessons you taught me in such a brief flicker of time.
I first met Edgar last summer, over a year ago, when I needed a hitting partner and he wasn't yet officially a part of the team. I have never met anyone so excited just to hit a few balls around for an hour or two. When asking me to hit, he often ended his e-mails similar to this fashion: "SO LET'S HIT TUESDAY!!!?????!?&**&^!?!?!?!!!!!!????!!!!!!!!!&(!!" It never failed to make me smile. He motivated me to get out on the court day after day, and gave me faith in my shots, especially my backhand. When it was too hot or I got too tired to keep playing, we would sit in the shade for awhile and talk about tennis, music, movies, relationships and even just philosophy and life. Once, we talked for so long that we lost track of time and Edgar was an hour and a half late to meet someone. The thing about Edgar that inspired me the most is that he never seemed afraid. He never seemed afraid to lose (or win) on the court, he never seemed afraid to say whatever he thought, he never seemed afraid to do anything. He actually did the things that other people only contemplated doing, like hitchhiking across the country. He took the time to enjoy life. I admired this about him, because I wish that I was more like that. In a way, I think he inspired me to become more like him. Edgar was beyond ecstatic when he became a part of our tennis team. This team meant a lot to him. I wish that he was still here, I wish that we had spent more time together, I wish a lot of things. But mostly, I'm just glad that I had the honor to get to know Edgar. I'm glad that he left such a positive impact on my life, because in a way, it is like he is still here.
Dear Edgar, I will always admire your ability to brighten everyday and to shed positive light on any situation. Sometimes I failed to realize how your resoundingly optimistic spirit impacted not just my game but my life. You were always there on the sidelines cheering us on even in those matches that would have otherwise been considered a lost cause. As frustrated as I would become, you were always there to push me harder, to give me some kind words and an 'awesome' new perspective. In essence, your life and your personality can be summed up with your favorite word 'awesome.' Even if you are no longer here with the team, I feel that we will feel your awesome presence and spirit for a long time yet. You might be done living, but you are not done affecting our lives. We will always miss you Edgar. With Love, Katie
Edgar has always been so different. It's true that I probably didn't get to know him as well as others, but even so, he was someone you meet, and don't forget. First off, he was pretty insane. I still can't believe he ran a marathon without any training while videotaping his progress and giving commentaries. Of course, that's only one out of the many crazy things he's done. Edgar's sense of humor and the things he talked about were also very...different. He would say the weirdest, most out of the blue things. It was all very amusing. Of course, he was always smiling, and friendly to everyone. But what made him unique was how he was always positive - it was a contagious happiness. In the context of tennis, there were many times when I was upset about the way I was playing, but Edgar would always be there to pump me up, and get me thinking positive again. Even when I replied negatively, and stubbornly stuck to being pessimistic, Edgar wouldn't give up, and continued to pile tons of encouragement on me. What made it more amazing was the fact that he came to nearly every match with us, no matter how far it was.