WE LOST A FRIEND TODAY

Each day, 151,600 times, millions of people around the world will lose a friend—ripped from their lives by the icy fingers of death.  Today the snatch ‘n grab of morbidity targeted Mr. Terry Watson, friend of all who ever called the Detroit Skating Club their “home.”

 For forty years Terry and his wife Diane operated the Ice Sports Café off the main lobby of Detroit Skating Club, one of the world’s premiere training facilities.  While there are numerous reasons why DSC became a club of renown, one of the reasons has been Terry Watson and people like him. 

 That may sound strange to some people, especially since Terry really had nothing to do with coaching Olympic hopefuls or training world medalists on-ice.  However, he had everything to do with setting an example, creating an atmosphere, and establishing a mindset for winners … oh, and serving up some pretty darn-good, delicious food! 

 No matter who came through the doors at DSC—a newly enrolled learn-to-skater, a hockey player from any of the high schools or universities that called DSC their home ice, seasoned world and Olympic medalists, parents, grandparents, or nannies—if they interacted with Terry, the thumbprint of his influence on them was certain. 

Last Friday evening, 130 skaters took the ice in front of a packed house in C-Rink at DSC to honor their friend Terry, who only a couple of weeks earlier had received the diagnosis of advanced Stage-Four pancreatic cancer.  I was there – for three reasons really. 

 First and foremost, I love Diane and Terry Watson, so I was in town and wanted to be there for them.  Second, my wife Debbie (DSC office manager) had assigned me the responsibility of purchasing several cases of bottled water and delivering them early for the huge meal that DSC members brought for the event.  Third, Diane and Terry had asked if we could talk privately. 

 What I observed throughout the evening is beyond my ability to adequately describe, so I won’t even attempt it in detail.  However, I want to summarize it this way—Terry Watson, with his precious wife Di and daughter Bethany by his side, and his extended family surrounding him at center ice, gave a standing ovation to the representative crowd to whom he had given his life—one specially prepared meal, snack, or encouraging word at a time. 

 Further, Terry and his entire family graciously allowed hundreds of parents and skaters  the opportunity to come by for a few moments of private words, hugs, and photo ops.  A few hours later, Debbie, Diane, Terry and I got our few minutes together privately—behind the closed door of the Ice Sports Café, moments which I will harbor in my heart as some of life’s most precious.

This morning, Terry stepped from time into eternity.  The loss hurts everyone who knew and loved him.  However, we have awesome memories until we catch up with him one of these days … and I have it in my mind that there will be a time when Debbie, Diane, Terry, and Dale will join hands there, just like we did here! 

BTW, do you pray?  If so, would you ask God to minister His comfort, grace, and peace to the hearts of the Terry Watson family?  While you’re asking for that, would you also petition Him for comfort for the hearts of the thousands of Terry’s friends … who will miss reaching across the counter of the Ice Sports Café counter and shaking his big, hard-gripping hand?  Thanks

RIP, my friend

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