Life is Fragile.

Emmy award winner Eric Chandler, who plays Coach Eric Taylor in the hit television series Friday Night Lights,  sums  up life’s fragility better than anyone ever could.

“Give all of us that are gathered here tonight the strength to remember that life is so very fragile. We are all vulnerable. We will all at some point in our lives– fall. We will all fall. We must carry this in our hearts, that what we have is special. That it can be taken from us–and that when it is taken from us; we will be tested. We will be tested to our very souls. We will now all be tested. It is these times; it is this pain. That allows us to look inside ourselves.”

Life simply consists of a timeline of moments. It’s what you do in these moments that define who you are. You only come across a small number of big moments in your life. It’s what you do in those moments that define your character. If there is one thing we can all come in accordance with about life; it’s that life goes on. It will never wait for you, so you should never try to catch up to it.

A friend I have made while managing my high school team texted me yesterday. “Motivate me” it says. I brainstormed a couple of classic @littlemotivator tweets and I texted her four of them in a row. The last text I sent, I made up on the spot “Always remember there is someone out there who has it worse than you.” That quote should have been sent to  me not her. You see my friend has had a bad week. She has been missing a couple of days of school lately to attend doctor appointments for testing. Her doctor believes she has cancer.

My friend doesn’t want to believe it and neither do I. No one her age should have to go through what she is going through. Keep fighting, keep smiling, and keep believing. I know with a lot faith and the right attitude that she can kick this cancers ass. My friend and I share the same passion in hockey so conversation comes easy. Neither of us play the game; but we both play key roles on two teams that I would hope consider us indispensable. The 2011-2012 season just ended for me. I only had one goal on the season; influencing a UNH team to play passionately together one last time. This off-season I want to better that, with two goals. I want to keep my friends close and my best friends closer. I also want to keep smiling, because if I smile you will smile.

Well you see–it doesn’t stop there. My best friend’s father has been on the winning side of a ten-year battle with cancer. He could be, nope he is the strongest human I have ever come across. I’ve written before on how tough it is to see the strongest people in your life show visible signs of weakness. This man has been through hell and back–yet he is still winning. It’s people like this that deserve unlimited recognition, the highest of praises, feet kissed/grapes fed kind of treatment. Yet he wouldn’t want it. He would actually despise anyone who offered it. Well Mr. Anctil, I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for being a second father to me. Thank you for fighting for me. Thank you for showing me what courage is. Your son and I are 866.66 miles away and we are still the best of friends.

“Cancer puts everything into perspective – it’s not about a bad grade, a championship loss, or getting stuck in traffic – it’s about fighting for your life. Everyone always says it but it doesn’t truly hit you until you see a loved one go through chemo, radiation, and 8 surgeries. It’s the support that he received that helped him believe cancer is a beatable thing.”- Matt Anctil

To have someone’s back you must have their heart too. The heart is located within your chest. When your chest is held high your heart is held high. That is visible sign of someone not willing to back down. After a while it can get tiring having to be strong for so long, I understand. The biggest motivation to keep on moving forward though is through your family and friends. There are a few people who will never give up on you. Those are the people who you should forever have in your hearts. I have a lot of people who I could consider being a friend. It’s the “friends” who stick with me during my rough patches that I call first when it comes time to celebrate my accomplishments.

“It’s those kind of memories that make it worth it to never give up. Knowing so many more people believe you can beat cancer makes it all worth while. Do I believe the doctors at Mass General are miracle workers? Absolutely, but I also believe the people who gave my dad motivation to keep fighting were just as important.”-Matt Anctil

Falling down happens. It happens when you first learn to skate, when you first learn to walk and when you make a mistake. How quickly you get back up can tell a lot about a person. It shows that you have been knocked down before. It shows that you have a reason to get back up. It doesn’t matter how you get picked back up–just always get up. The best part about my condition–is that I was born with it. I was able to overcome all of the harassment at an early age. I feel pretty invincible now. No joke, point, comment or person can knock me down anymore. If I’ve fallen now, something colossal has to of happened.

“Visiting Mass General made me truly believe that someone else out there always has it worse and I wouldn’t wish any kind of cancer on my worst enemy. It takes a tremendous amount of faith and believing from not only yourself but also from the people who mean the most to constantly remind you why it’s so worth it to look cancer in the eye and beat it. What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.”

Family means the most to me, I know very repetitive. But you see–with me my family runs deep. I have my 2 parents, 3 siblings and about 2 dozen other members that consist of aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. I also have a brotherhood where Matt Anctil is the first name you will find on that list. The rest of the names are made up of my small hometown and Durham core that have always been there for me. If you mess with me, expect to mess with them too.

“He’ll never know how truly proud I am of him.” -Matt Anctil

That’s the beauty of unconditional love. There aren’t enough correct words that can describe such a feeling. There isn’t enough time in a life to be able to express our gratitude towards others. I try not to waste any moments. Memories are moments shared between someone who has a special place in your heart. I remember the first time Matt told me the news that no best friend ever wants to hear. We were mini-golfing–I was playing with a green ball, 10 years ago. Last week the weather couldn’t have been any better in Durham. I spent the sunniest day of the week with a man who couldn’t be more excited to view a college with a daughter he has given the world to. It was tough to tell what was brighter, his smile or the sun shining down on us. It’s little moments like these that leave big  impressions on my character. If you ever are having a bad week, think of people like Mr. Anctil or my friend and then try putting your life back into perspective. Because of these two beautiful people in my life, I have been able to live mine a little stronger. The world needs more people like you, and that’s something you should be proud of.

God Bless.

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