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Life Goes on After Death

Dominique Bates, Writer

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A nation is currently in mourning after the tragic death of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez. Whether people are baseball fans or sports fans in general, they most likely have found themselves in tears or some sort of solemn state after hearing the news.
Fernandez lost his life in a boating accident on September 25. People from all over the world were showing their support for the Miami Marlins organization and Fernandez’s family. Losing such a prominent figure in the sports world takes a toll on teammates, families, and fans. That’s exactly what took place on that Sunday morning. Social media feeds were flooded with tributes to the Marlins pitcher.
   Fans of every team found themselves posting tributes remembering Fernandez. When a life is lost, rivalries cease and suddenly the game isn’t the most important thing. We find ourselves remembering that these athletes aren’t invincible, they are humans just like the rest of us. They laugh, cry, bleed, and die just like anyone else. As sports fans, we tend to forget that important fact. We are all human.
    How can someone so innocent, who was just smiling on the mound, striking people out left and right, now be gone forever? He was only 24 years old. He was expecting a child with his current girlfriend. Now, this child has to go through life without his or her father. That’s a thought that is hard to comprehend. Life doesn’t seem fair at times. Now we are left to think about what could have been. Fernandez was arguably one of the best pitchers in the game and had a heart of gold.
   People who didn’t even know him have been in mourning, but what about those he loved and who loved him as well? How did his family, friends, and teammates react to this tragic news? The Marlins organization was so distraught that they cancelled a game that was supposed to be played that day. They held press conferences at which members of the team and manager Don Mattingly poured their hearts out. His stepfather, Ramon Jimenez, who raised Fernandez since he was three months old, is left to wonder why. “And I could only say, ‘Not my son, not my son. It can’t be true, no,” Jimenez stated.
   Fernandez was born in Cuba and lived there until he was 14 years old. He and his family had spent their whole lives fighting for freedom. In 2007, they escaped Cuba and started their lives in the United States. Their trip wasn’t smooth sailing, as Fernandez’s mother fell overboard. Fernandez, showing no hesitation jumped in to save her. It was reported that he didn’t even know that it was his mother who had fallen overboard. He just reacted once he saw someone was in trouble. So, he attempted to save a complete stranger. That act of kindness shows what kind of person Fernandez really was and the impact he had on the lives he touched.
 People say that once someone is gone, they no longer have a connection to our world. Once they die, they are gone and that’s it. They become a lost soul who becomes forgotten. Many would beg to differ after witnessing the events that took place in the days following Fernandez’s death.

The first event that made headlines was on September 26th, a day after Fernandez’s death. Dee Gordon, Marlins second baseman and one of Fernandez’s best friends, paid the ultimate tribute to his late great friend. In a game against the New York Mets, the Marlins team held a moment of silence for Fernandez and the whole stadium mourned him. A video showed Fernandez’s greatest moments. After this remembrance, the Marlins all placed their hats on the mound where Fernandez had last stepped and made his mark. The tribute didn’t stop there. In the bottom of the first inning, Gordon was up to bat first. He took his stance batting right, which is interesting because he is a lefty. Fernandez was a right hand hitter, so this was Gordon’s way of honoring his best friend. After the first pitch, he then returned to batting left handed. This where the magic begins. Gordon slammed his bat into the ball, sending it 372 feet, thus hitting his first homerun of the year. Later Gordon said, “I ain’t never hit a ball that far, even in BP, I told the boys, if you all don’t believe in God, you better start. For that to happen today, we had some help.”
As the week continued, so did the magic. Cardinals player Aledmys Diaz had perhaps the best game of his young career. Diaz was a lifelong friend of Fernandez. They grew up down the street from each other in Cuba. They considered one another brothers. Diaz honored Fernandez by playing his heart out. “I think the best way to honor him is to play this game 100%,” Diaz said. “I would think that’s what he’d want.” Diaz paid tribute to Fernandez with one hit. He did the unthinkable, something he had never done before… hit a grandslam. After crossing the plate, with tears streaming down his face, he raised his helmet to the sky, connecting with Fernandez one last time.
A homerun and a grand slam by two of the people who meant the world to Fernandez. Now that truly is amazing. What a tribute. Those who leave us are still with us. Life truly does go on after death.

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Life Goes on After Death