Friday, January 19, 2018

The Healing Begins for the Cougar Nation

The first text came in from a close friend and I couldn't believe it.  "I'm getting word that Tyler Hilinski committed suicide today".  My heart dropped.  Not only in disbelief, but these are the texts that just don't come across my phone.  Moments later my iPhone started blowing up.  Texts were coming in from all over the country.  People don't realize the nature of being a Cougar.  It's a very small nation, and a tight one.  I really can't recall anything that has gone so viral in such a short amount of time.

The next four hours literally dropped me to my knees.  My close Cougar friends banter back and forth via text about a lot of things.  Mike Leach and his no-run offense, coaching changes across the country, even predictions on what's going to happen next year.  When are we going to name a new Athletic Director.
People are so excited about a versatile quarterback leading the troops next year.  What an extra element Tyler Hilinski will bring to this offense.   The future is bright.  This tragedy was not supposed to be part of the equation.

Little did we know how much #3 was hurting.  I lost my best friend to suicide years ago and I still have trouble processing it.   I do know he did share with me the demons he was facing, but he was such a gregarious, positive guy that I didn't think it was that serious.  I knew he was getting help, I would visit him at a halfway house frequently.  I still wonder if I was still in town if I could have helped him.  Unfortunately I would have to find out the hard way.  I received a phone call that I lost my best friend.

There is something positive we can take from all of this.  This will undoubtedly  bring the whole Cougar Nation closer, specifically the football team and those close to it.  It's so important that we all focus on the ' here and now', we just don't know when our time will come.

Tyler Hilinski's time came much too early.  And the whole Cougar Nation is mourning because of it. 

RIP #3