This picture appeared in one of my earlier blogs a few months back. I have retrieved it because I want to talk about youth and friendships. When I came to Lawrence High and went out for cross country there was a large group of talented runners in that sophomore class. We were good enough that we should have gone to state as seniors but sometimes things don't work out the way they are supposed to, kind of like life. Between illnesses and a lack of focus we never lived up to our own expectations as a team.
The guys I remember, Phil Wedge, Barney McCoy, Ed Tubby, Keith Armitage, Vince Miller, Dave Roush and Clay Kappelman, were great teammates and friends. Clay is the young man in the middle in the photo above, standing between myself and then senior Tom Schmittendorf. Clay died last Friday. He follows Dave Roush who passed away a few years ago after struggling for years following a horrible car crash.
The thing is this, we form these great friendships in high school and then college and life come along. Thankfully the internet makes it easier to keep in touch with those friends. Clay was a great teammate and a better friend. We had sort of a rivalry I think due in large part to his father. Clay was a much better athlete than I was but he didn't have a lot of luck beating me, although he did a few times. But the undertension that was there never got in the way of our friendship. He wouldn't let it and looking back I don't think I fully appreciated that.
Unfortunately by college and after we had gone our separate ways. Clay had married a beautiful girl and started a family. I'd see him from time to time in adult life. We kind of landed in the same profession. He worked a lot as a freelance cameraman and he would wander through WDAF TV from time to time. It was always great to see him as he always had a smile and a laid back way about him.
I'm going to miss him, just like I miss Barney, Phil, Keith. Ed, Vince and a lot of other great friends from high school, that I don't get to see or talk to often enough. Forgive me, but that's part of life and growing up I guess.