Praying Like a Good Sport

On a basketball court last week, I made some remarkable discoveries about the human spirit, or better, about humans and the Spirit.
Over one hundred high school basketball players from several international schools from across Europe, North Africa and the Mediterranean had just watched the final basketball game of the ISST (International Schools Sports Tournament). It had been a day of fierce, rapid-fire competition ricocheting steadily from one hoop to the other. The Hague had just beaten Vienna. The Bonn, Germany gymnasium (where these finals were being held), was full of cheering and sweating, celebration music and congratulatory back-slapping and hand-shaking. I was playing photojournalist. I’d been doing the same that morning in the Cologne cathedral. If you read my last post, you know I’d been somewhat wrapped up in some thoughts about things spiritual, making my hours there maybe not outright holy, but touched lightly with reverence. Then I slung my camera bag over my shoulder, drove with my family the thirty minutes southwards to Bonn, where I hid myself in the stands overhead to take pictures of all the players. We’d not been told who it would be, but we knew that one player from among the hundred-plus, had been voted by the coaches and athletic directors to receive a special award in the name of a deceased player formerly from the tournament. It was this award that has brought our family to these finals for six years running, because it is the namesake of the award that brought us to any of these tournaments, when he’d played in these games himself. IMG_2096

The Parker Bradford ISST Sportsmanship award for basketball was established shortly after our son lost his life, and by the unanimous consent of the coaches in the ISST. All those coaches knew our son. He’d played two years on the American School of Paris varsity basketball team, and had been co-captain when that team had won the ISST championship.
While we sat in the upper deck watching the final game, Randall and I recalled the previous finals over the years and the other recipients of this award. In March 2008, our family was on hand in Frankfurt to present the first award to a player from the British School of the Netherlands. In 2009, we drove from Munich to The Hague, where a player from Brussels received the award. At that ceremony, the hosting coach spontaneously asked all the players to gather in a circle and put their arms around each other’s shoulders as he read a statement about Parker. In 2010, we drove to Zürich where a boy from that home team was selected for the distinction. Again, all the players stood in a linked circle.

In 2011, when the finals were held in Israel, (and we were living in Singapore), Randall, who was on business in Tel Aviv, arranged to attend the championships in Even Yehuda, a thirty-minute drive northward. Randall stood in the middle of the circle of young players as the statement was read. The recipient that year, a Brit named Logan McKee who was playing for Frankfurt, had noted in the statement about our family, that our daughter was attending Brigham Young University. This detail piqued his interest, and when he and Randall were standing for photos afterwards, Logan whispered to Randall, “Are you Mormon?” to which Randal, still smiling for the cameras, said, “Yes, I am. We are LDS.” “So am I,” said Logan, “And I’m leaving soon to serve a full-time mission.” (A few months later, we learned that Logan McKee had been assigned to serve in the very region where both Randall and I had been missionaries in our twenties, in Bavaria and in Austria. He is is completing his service there now).

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In 2012, Randall and I made a 76-hour turnaround trip from Singapore, and pulled into Vienna just in time for the final ISST game. There, the players ringed around us again, their arms draped on one another’s shoulders, as Nicola Bordignon from Milan was announced as the recipient of the Parker Bradford Sportsmanship Award.

2012 ISST Div II Boys B-Ball Award Ceremony (Vienna, Austria - March 10, 2012) Nic Bordignon (2012 ISSTs - Vienna)

And now here we are. Nearly six years out. Already 2013. We are sitting in the stands again, eyeing the players, wondering who of all these kids might receive the award that bears the name of Parker Bradford. The Hague wins, the team huddles, and in the flurry, I take three or four shots for no particular reason of one player. I’ve learned over the years of doing this – of watching young men play this game my son lived for – I’ve learned that in order to make it through the moment without sinking into the quicksand of sadness, I need to quickly adjust my focus. I’ve learned to train my sights on the brilliance (and I can only call it that – brilliance) of others’ happiness. This kid, this #7, he seems to be a good model of that brilliance. So I shoot away.

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In the awards assembly that follows, all of the participating team members receive their medals. Team rankings. MVP. The all-tournament team. The Hague, who’s won the tournament, gets a wagonload of medals.Under all the cheering and applause, I watch closely: the testosertoney swaggers, the sagging sports shorts in blue, silver, red or gray nylon, the long sculpted legs, the too-large feet, the cloddy ankle-high shoes, the mitts for hands, the wristbands and head bands, the shaggy hair, the shaved heads, the coolness of their brotherhood, the looseness of their pop humor. This self-evident, laid-back regard for life as theirs, the future as a given. High school boys high-fiving, bouncing on their tip-toes, heading with squared shoulders or the guttural whoop of triumph or an ironic grin into the Big Life awaiting them. The hosting coach steps to the mic to announce a closing award, “the most prestigious award”, he says, and asks all the players to pay close attention to the film that will be shown.

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I haven’t seen my son on the court for six years to this month. I haven’t even seen him in film on the court for nearly that long because I haven’t been able to stomach it. It’s one thing to see him in still shots: frozen, immobile, caught mid-three-pointer. Or trapped at age eleven, playing in the kitchen or at school with friends or on the beach with his younger siblings. Or framed at sixteen on Christmas morning, face exploding with joy while he helps his baby brother tear open the Buzz Lightyear box. I’ve learned to manage the frozen shots and even the warmth of his movement in other family DVD’s, which we now watch nearly every weekend, at Luc’s insistence. But to watch him running the court. I can’t move. I cradle my camera in my lap, knowing there’s nowhere to hide. No one should see these tears from where I am, seated in a dark corner, high school players to my right, my left, guys sniffling behind me, all of us gone silent as we stare from this darkened gymnasium at grainy images of some kid named Parker, playing ball. <a This is hard. This is beautiful. And this invites something that changes the air around me, around us. I can feel things changing, the dust particles settling and so many hearts slowing and limbs and hands growing motionless, eyes widening, a rustle going across the big room, it seems, in an inaudible “shhhhhhh.”

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After we watch the dead boy play – the boy with the long sculpted legs, the too-large feet, the ankle-high shoes, the mitts for hands, the wristbands and head band, the one who wore #8 when he played once on this very court in Bonn – after we watch him kiss that big championship trophy, we sit in the half-lit silence. “All players,” the coach says quietly, “will you please come up here and form a line? We want you to be together, and we parents and coaches want to look at all of you.” One long line of life in its splendid prime. Every last player has his head bowed. These kids – joking, raucous, gobbling burgers, guzzling sports drinks, limbs all akimbo just a minute earlier – are standing there is if awaiting their rites for the monastery. If you’d come in the gym right then, you’d think we were having a prayer. The sight has got me smiling behind my camera, and my eyes are watering with some kind of pained happiness. I’m struggling to see through my lens.

The Father, Randall, with the Brothers, Dalton and Luc at either side, have taken their place center court. My men will present the plaque. I will hide behind my camera, still smiling and teary, sad and giddy. A statement will be read aloud over the sound system by the coach:

Today the Boys Basketball ISST Division II is proud to present the sixth annual “Parker Bradford Sportsmanship Award”. Parker Fairbourne Bradford attended the American School of Paris for 8 years. Shortly after his graduation in June 2007, he began his university studies in the United States. Late one afternoon in mid-July, while attending a swimming activity, he and several classmates were standing in a calm section of an irrigation canal, when a deadly but invisible undertow unexpectedly pulled Parker and a fellow student under water. Twice Parker freed himself from the powerful current, even pulling himself onto dry land, yet both times without hesitation he dove back in to try to save his trapped and drowning classmate. His effort was not in vain, as his friend was freed and with the help of another student survived, but it cost Parker his own life. He passed away on July 21, 2007. In memory of this remarkable young man, the ISST Athletic Directors unanimously agreed to establish a sportsmanship award in Parker’s name. Parker loved and enjoyed sports and music throughout his life. He was a gifted drummer and performed in several jazz bands. He was also a leading member of the American School of Paris’s 2006 ISST Division I championship basketball team and 2007 ISST Division I championship volleyball team. Yet as talented as he was as a player, Parker was an even greater sportsman and person. Following his untimely passing in July 2007, six memorial services were held in his honor (3 in the United States and 3 in Paris, France). A percussion scholarship was established in his name at the university he had begun attending; and two monuments were erected in his memory, one at the accident site in the United States, and the other in Norway, where he lived 5 years early in his life. He was and remains a powerful influence and role model for countless friends, teachers, coaches and relatives. Parker is represented here today by his father, Randall; his mother, Melissa; and his brothers, Dalton and Luc, all of whom currently reside in Geneva, Switzerland. Their daughter and Parker’s sister, Claire, is currently a full-time voluntary representative for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Rome, Italy. The Bradford Family has asked me to convey to all of you athletes, coaches and teachers their deep and abiding love for Parker and their solemn gratitude to see him both remembered and honored today in Bonn.

And now the recipient will be announced. But before he is, reader, I’m going to hold you captive for a few short paragraphs, if you’ll let me. May I ask you something? Would you consider carefully what I’m now going to tell you? Will you please sit long and silently on the significance of what I am going to write? Will you pass this knowledge on in your interactions with others? Will you even pass on this post, so that those already touched by loss and grief and everyone who eventually will be, will have this to reference?

-The nature of one’s living relationship with the one who has passed away influences the nature of one’s grief.

Our two youngest boys and our daughter adored their big brother. He was a loving, funny, attentive leader. To say he was a “model brother” might be taking it too far, but people told us (both before and after his death) that they saw Parker as just that. Imperfect in totality, as every one of us surely is, he was still sweet and caring and uncomplicated in his human relationships. Sibling rivalry? Bad memories? Fights to regret? Flicking away of the obnoxious younger kid? None of those describes Parker. He was a peacemaker and protectorate. In fact, all my sweet surviving children suffered the lost of the one they all called their favorite sibling. They suffer still.

-The nature of the death itself influences the nature of a survivor’s grief. Was it a sudden or protracted departure? Was it inexplicable and untimely, or a peaceful relief at the end of a long life well lived? Was it accidental? Violent? Self-inflicted? Did the survivors witness it? Did it implicate family members or a larger community? Was it fraught with legal complications? Are details of the death as yet unresolved? All of these factors and countless more color and intensify the grief experience.

Parker was in the full bloom of perfect health. Dalton had laughed with him and hugged him goodbye while standing in a sunny parking lot outside a college apartment on Wednesday afternoon. On Thursday night, Parker lay in a deep coma. On Saturday morning, Dalton stood next to the gurney as we turned off life support. Dalton, then eleven-years-old, watched his big brother’s body heave its last breath. His death came from nowhere. There was no preparatory time, no chance to absorb on either a practical or a subconscious level what death would mean, what life would be like, what the earth would feel like, who we would all become without him. When the blow of death comes from nowhere, and when it involves intentional violence or when it is a self-inflicted death, the complications and contours of the grief are markedly different, and research notes that the grief experience is, (these are the experts’ words, not mine), “more intense.” My son’s death is of one sort, and it carries, if I dare say this, a certain bitter beauty of meaning. He sacrificed his life for another. But what about the man I met whose daughter choked to death at a family reunion barbeque? Or the other woman, whose daughter was stabbed to death by an intruder with an already-lengthy police record? Or what about all of my friends – too many of them – whose children have taken their own lives, and sometimes in a violent manner and in their parents’ homes? What about the parents of all the little children lost at Sandy Hook Elementary School? And the nameless and innumerable, lost to acts of genocide?

-The nature of the continuity offered by a community – its ability to mourn and comfort, to offer practical assistance, to listen with compassion and to continue to speak the name of the departed – greatly influences the nature of a survivor’s ability to absorb and transcend and even transform grief into a regenerating power.

What can also make the burden of grief heavier is what I’ve tried hard but fear I’ve failed at conveying in my writings to this point. There needs to be an engaged, open, co-mourning community, whose history involves the deceased and whose continuing narrative includes the deceased. None of my children had this. They walked, dizzy in pain, out of a funeral, onto an airplane, and into a world full of strangers whose dominant language they did not speak. Even if they had spoken the same language, no one knew our children’s tragic story. They had no context in which to understand our children’s behavior. Nearly always, when people did find out about Parker, they chose to remain silent about him. There could be no discussion for the children, no continuing narrative about what was raw and throbbing in their bodies every day; and even now, they remember their brother only privately. There is no everyday community that acknowledges that their big brother ever existed. As Dalton told me recently, “It’s like my brother hangs in a museum. And who my age goes to museums?” They’ve found few – a small handful of exceptional people over these nearly six years – who are able to do something as simple as speak their brother’s name.

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“The Parker Bradford Sportsmanship award,” says the coach into the microphone, while Dalton and Luc cast their tear-filled eyes up and down the line of players, “will go this year to #7, from The Hague.” And there it is: that name hanging in that familiar silence saturated in meaning. I’ve felt it all those times before. It’s not merely my perception, although I thought it was that at first. Maternal overlay. Parental preoccupation. But then so many others have commented to me about it afterwards. There is something happening when a court full of high school jocks goes silent, when they voluntarily bow their heads as if praying, a bit broken or lightly hurt, wiping their eyes over a boy they never knew, about a story that, except for basketball, bears little resemblance to their immediate lives.

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What is it? I want to ask you. What is it that is happening in this moment? While it has something to do with Parker, the moment is only partially about him. It’s about us, I think. It is about who we really are. Our human nature is innately spiritual, and the spiritual within us resonates in ways we can sometimes hardly account for. It swells and warms to things that are true, beautiful, eternal and enlivening. To great music, to fine art, to generosity, to forgiveness, to small acts of kindness, to the Spirit. Part of living well with great loss, I believe, requires a conscious surrender to this truth: that the spiritual continues beyond this material existence and can, in given moments, visit, bless and strengthen us.

I’d even say it can drop in on a basketball court. IMG_2128 With their heads bowed, what are these kids wondering? Some are maybe thinking, “When will this thing be over?” I’m a realist. I know teenagers. I know adults, too, and have seen how plenty of us are physically awkward in moments like these, moments with no distraction, moments of stark sincerity. But who can blame us? It’s a question of exposure, maybe, and our modern world gives us precious little exposure to sanctity, reverence, reflective silence, and the long-quiet-unfiltered stare into sweetness, simple goodness and The Way Things Are. If I could read their thought bubbles, though, what might I find? What does it mean to be part of a team? Why do I compete? What is the meaning of this game? What is winning? What is losing? What is my responsibility to my teammates? To my opponents? To people I’ve known for years? Known for a season? What’s my future? My character? What is my responsibility to my family? To strangers? To folks I’ve known, say, for a week? How much do I value the lives of others?

Do their lives matter?

Does my life matter?

Does life matter?

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The optimist in me likes to think that one of these questions or others like them went through the mind of one of those kids that Saturday. I have hope that for #7, a Dutch/American student heading off to Brown University in the U.S., he’ll have a full, rich life during which those questions might inform his decisions. And that once or twice, he might think about Parker, whose award he received. From a letter of thanks Randall wrote to the hosting coach:

It is a remarkable moment in that setting, after all the ruckus and cheering and yelling and shouting (all of which is appropriate), to witness how that gymnasium goes absolutely quiet, and the whole ceremony ends on this singular note of remembrance. Somehow I feel our Parker’s spirit both in the cheering and in the silence. Your decision to call forward this year each of the eight nominees was new, and I thought it was wonderful that each of those young men knew that their coaches had nominated them and that they were considered “sportsmen”. Since the award was inaugurated, I have been struck each year by the reaction of the recipient. It is difficult for me to put my finger on it—I can best describe it as something I see in the boys’ eyes—but it’s also something I can feel: their integrity, the sincerity with which they receive the award, and the humility with which they conduct themselves, much of which must also come from their upbringing. I saw that again when we later met privately with Winston Kortenhorst , #7, and his father, Jules. It was touching for me to hear Winston tell us that of the 3 awards he received that day—the championship trophy for his team, his selection to the all-tournament team, and the Parker Bradford Sportsmanship Award—the one that he was proudest of was Parker’s award. You and the other athletic directors have created a marvelous way of leaving these young men each year with a gift—the gift of knowing that as healthy and wonderful as competition is (our Parker was fiercely competitive, too), it is outweighed by their sportsmanship, reflected in the way they play the game and how they carry themselves.

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“Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best.” One of Parker’s favorite quotes, from San Antonio Spurs basketball player, Tim Duncan.

19 thoughts on “Praying Like a Good Sport

  1. I read it all the way to the end – it was a good story and worth recording. And the pictures really contributed too! I’m glad the kids were receptive to the importance of the award. It makes it mean all that much more to you and to them.

    Nancy

    • thanks, Nancy. (You made it all the way to the end…!) I might consider some time writing slightly shorter posts 🙂 But all that so much time. Kids (and adults) sense something important happening, even if they can’t quite define what that “something” is. Community: it’s crucial. More than I ever knew.—M

  2. Oh wow Melissa this is heartbreakingly beautiful. I have two friends who have lost daughters and your article here helps me understand on some tiny level how best to reach out to them. Just mentioning their names…oh I am so so sorry. I have two sons and I am unable to put myself in your shoes even for a moment because it would be too much to bear the thought. Wonderful you have this award and you attend each year. That is amazing.

    • 9: yes, mention their names. I have a friend who sat on my office floor and said it like this: “I want to hear about him all I can, but even speaking his name so tender, it hurts.” She GOT it. And I felt safe in her presence. And you know, I am encircled by bereaved friends who have no such ‘memorial’, no award, no monuments. I do feel greatly blessed. Thanks for being here. . .–M.

  3. Your words left me in tears Melissa, again! I remember watching Parker play basketball at ASP……and volleyball….and the drums! It was always a treat during the jazz band concerts when Parker let loose and gave us an amazing solo…I waited for those moments! It is beautiful to see Parker’s life remembered and honored through these award recipients. It is equally tender to see your boys be a part of these special moments honoring their cherished older brother. Thank you for sharing.

    • JoAnn– thank you! It means a lot to me that others have memories of Parker, and that others can speak his name. The power of our names is beyond what we would think; they pin us in this world and makes us sharable. When we cease to exist in the visible world, it’s strange to observe how quickly the visible world relegates us to oblivion. Words keep us here, strange as that sounds.

      (And a confession: my words sometimes leave me in tears. The experience of producing them sometimes plows me open. Which is fine, even healthy.)

      Always with so much love–M.

  4. Good morning friend. I sought out your blog today and looked what I stumbled upon. How can something be both heart-breaking and heart-healing in the same moment?

    May God bless you, Parker, and all the rest who hold the pain of absence and the love of cherished memories during your separation.

    With love – Jennifer Warburton

  5. Narrative is very important. Telling stories about our lost loved ones helps to heal us and keeps our connection with the departed alive. That’s what you’re doing, here.

    You’ve got me thinking about how my mother was the storyteller in our family. She told funny and interesting stories about things that happened to her, and she was the holder of all the family stories. We have lost so much of our (hi)story with her passing, and now we tell stories about her to keep her memory alive.

  6. no, it wasn’t long. when well-written, written with a — shall we say — “certain investment” — it’s not long nor tedious. he ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.
    the joy for and in others’ accomplishments you mentioned reminds me of something, perhaps far too trivial for your multi-level (phys, spiritual, energy-realm) essays, but perhaps it fits in: my last “full” ice-hockey season, i was on a team of “left-overs” from all the established teams. we fit in well, had a great time. there was a “kid” (19? or so) who was really really good. i was, of course, the worst player on the team. i’m embarassed to say i have forgotten his name right now but he looked out for me. and in the last game of the season, when I finally scored a goal (and was, of course, somewhat elated) it was THE LOOK ON HIS FACE that made an impact. he was delighted, happier than i was — he who routinely scored 3 or so goals a game. sometimes it’s the “little things” — unspoken communications embued with meaning, even for so trivial as a novice hockey game — and in the case you’ve described, with the backdrop of the larger (infinite?) “arena of life.”
    did i say that i almost cried, a few times?

    arrange the “c” experience yet? (i probably don’t really wanna know)…

    rosco b.

  7. Very interesting comment about stories/narrative, Leslie. My husband just sent me a link to this article today:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/17/fashion/the-family-stories-that-bind-us-this-life.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    I found the conclusion fascinating and compelling: “The more children knew about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem and the more successfully they believed their families functioned. The “Do You Know?” scale turned out to be the best single predictor of children’s emotional health and happiness.”

  8. As always, Melissa, I am moved by your words here. What a tremendous testament to Parker, his love for athletic sport and achievement and to honour future athletes in his memory, through his inspiration. Your family must be incredibly strong to witness these things yet as you indicate here there is significant importance to you, your husband and children that goes beyond what most can begin to comprehend. Thank you once again for sharing this with us Melissa. Your thoughts will indeed be shared on my own blog.

  9. Reblogged this on A Poet's View and commented:
    Melissa Dalton-Bradford, in her extraordinary site ‘Melissa Writes Of Passage’, shares her own deeply personal loss of her eldest son in a tragic swimming accident. ‘Praying Like A Good Sport’ is yet another of her moving writings of the successive life events that have followed that loss and how she and her family have carried on since that tragic day.

    Melissa Dalton-Bradford, through her written word and scores of incredible photographs, articulates life and death and life thereafter in an extraordinary and inspiring fashion. Her writes of passage are a critical read for anyone who has or may in future experience this loss of a loved one…and indeed, each of us surely will.

  10. Good morning, Mrs.Bradford,
    you probably don’t know me, but I am a Chinese student at the International School of Geneva,
    in La Châtaigneraie campus, the same as where your sons are.

    I discovered you and this familial tragedy, first, by knowing Luc when I was in year 9, and briefly talking to Dalton yesterday,and secondly, by accidentally taping a wrong serie of words, which brought me haphazardly to this event, during a research on my late Kung-Fu teacher.

    I address you my most sincere condolences, and I must praise you for being such a courageous mother who seems to never give up. I still haven’t entirely read what you wrote on this website, nor your famous book, but I really acknowledge your writing eloquence and inspirational thoughts. I also recently lost my precious Kung-Fu teacher, who was a very close adult-friend and guide to me. However, I might never understand the degree of pain you went through, so I can only say that I support you in this ordeal.

    Death isn’t an easy subject for any living being, and knowing how much it means for you to simply mention
    his name, I think Parker is truly someone who left a sheaf of eternal sparkles to you and your family, and inspired
    everyone around him. Such an ultimate action deserves to recognized, and I must say that the Bradfords
    truly descends from a noble and virtuous family.

    Thank you for teaching us these morals, Madam.

    • My friend, Zilin-
      Your message here is warm and wise, as you must be. I thank you sincerely for having the courage and eloquence to write as you have. Your words are of great value.

      These words are especially poetic; I will not forget them:

      “I think Parker is truly someone who left a sheaf of eternal sparkles to you and your family.”

      And I am sorry to hear about your Kung-Fu teacher. That must have been a terrible loss for you, and you surely feel his absence still today. What has been strengthening for me has been the love of many around me–my family, my friends, and even strangers.

      • Dear Madam,
        as a fellow schoolmate (I am in year 10) of your sons, it is a must for me to adress my condolences,
        being already aware of such a loss.

        Thank you for replying me with your comforting and strengthening message that has inflammed my courage once again. No matter what we confront every day, supporting each other is the best way to view the world as a more utopic, equal and peaceful corner in the universe that appears to have a promising and bright future, despite the countless wars and indescribable violence.
        According to Luc, I heard that you and your family will be moving to Francfort. For me, it is a shame to see a good friend like Luc leave only after 2-3 years in La Chât, because I will miss him (he’s a funny guy). So the least that I am able to do is to wish you and your family good luck and prosperity in your future ambitions.
        I was also wondering how I can order your “Global Mum” book.
        Finally, please know that you are more than welcome to come back and visit Prangins, which I’m certainly sure you will, and thank you for having inspired me. 多谢您的榜样!后会有期!

      • Dear Madam,
        as a fellow schoolmate (I am in year 10) of your sons, it is a must for me to adress my condolences,
        being already aware of such a loss.

        Thank you for replying me with your comforting and strengthening message that has inflammed my courage once again. No matter what we confront every day, supporting each other is the best way to view the world as a more utopic, equal and peaceful corner in the universe that appears to have a promising and bright future, despite the countless wars and indescribable violence.
        According to Luc, I heard that you and your family will be moving to Francfort. For me, it is a shame to see a good friend like Luc leave only after 2-3 years in La Chât, because I will miss him (he’s a funny guy). So the least that I am able to do is to wish you and your family good luck and prosperity in your future ambitions.
        I was also wondering how I can order your “Global Mum” book.
        Finally, please know that you are more than welcome to come back and visit Prangins, which I’m certainly sure you will, and thank you for having inspired me. 多谢您的榜样!后会有期!

  11. Dear Mrs. Bradford,
    My name is Anthony Venuto and I just happened to stumble across this post when I was looking up my former basketball team. I am #12 from the American School of the Hague, you can see me standing next to #7 ( whose name is Winston Kortenhorst, just in case you didn’t know, I’m not sure ) in the picture of all tournament winners but anyways I thought this was an amazing read and I can for one say that I was crying during the video and not once did the thought can this thing just be over ever cross my mind. I thought this post was amazing and as a fellow peer of Winston I can say not one person deserved this award more, he is a great role model and a wonderful young man. I am going to show him this post because I am sure it will make his day.

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