As we mourn Tyler Skaggs’ death, let his life be a reminder

by Paul West

Suddenly, and as yet inexplicably, the young man we knew as Tyler Skaggs was lost to the mortal world today.

In many ways, Skaggs embodied the phrase, ‘living the dream.’ A California native, Skaggs was drafted by the team he grew up rooting for: the Angels, for whom he was a rising star at the time of his untimely death. All the way through his MLB career, his mom remained a trusted baseball advisor and pitching coach. After proposing in Bora Bora, he’d married his sweetheart on New Year’s Eve of the previous year. He was looking forward to pitching in Dodger Stadium later this season, and was widely known as popular and genuine albeit slightly eccentric.

The outpouring of emotion, grief, support, remembrance, and reflection have befit all we seem to know about Tyler Skaggs; but as many have noted, they also serve as yet another reminder of things too easily forgotten. The fragility of life, even for the young. The impact of treating others well and kindly, as did Mr. Skaggs by reports from far and wide. The importance of reminding those we love and value of just those things–as, it seems, Skaggs and his loved ones did frequently. The value of those who use their resources to bring value, joy, and charity to lives which are not their own.

The baseball world nearly lost another beloved figure just a couple of weeks ago; and in recent years, the sports world has lost some of its brightest purveyors of hope and joy. Beyond the world of sports, particularly of late, hope and joy can seem hard to come by; and as we join literal and figurative hands to lament the loss of another one gone too soon, let’s remember the lessons we can learn from that which makes him so sorely missed:

Use whatever platform you have for good. Spread happiness whenever you can. Cherish the people, places, and moments which bring you happiness, in a world where happiness often doesn’t come easily. And if you have blessings–whether in tangible or intangible form–remember not to take them for granted. None of us knows what fate may bring.

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