It's Not Plagiarism If You Link To It Eulogizes

(Note:  INPIYL2I will return to its usual self on Monday -- HS)

RIP, Coach Thomas   The horrific, senseless murder of Coach Ed Thomas has dominated the Iowa blogosphere over the last few days.  Here, a compilation of the eulogies from friends of the BHGP.

As usual, nobody does it better than Marc Morehouse:

Your high school football coach puts expectations on you that run out after the last time you take off a helmet. Or do they? Your coach’s expectations stay suspended in your life. Don’t try, do. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. Morehouse, wake up (film put me in a coma, sorry coach Weitz). It might be simplistic or naive, but your coach’s expectations are still there, at the base, in the work ethic.

Ed Thomas clearly understood this. Something like 90 percent of the male students at Aplington-Parkersburg go out for football, big and small and fast and slow, doesn’t matter. A-P hasn’t been the dynasty it is because 11 kids do all the work every season. Ed Thomas brought everyone in. He was the face of the town after last May’s killer tornado.

He was a "coach," in the highest sense of the word.

In football, the weightroom is the family room. You grow there. You kid, push and cheer each other there.

Wednesday, Ed Thomas was murdered there. A father was taken while tending to 30 members of his family.

Mike Hlas:

Ed Thomas Field. "The Sacred Acre." As much as anywhere in town over the years, it’s the place that has given Parkersburg its sense of community.

Falcon football has been about winning, absolutely. But it’s been about how the things that make people true winners. Wow, was that ever evidenced after the tornado, when the team and its town fought back like state-champions.

"You get beat up, battered," Thomas told the New York Times last fall, "but you get back off the ground."

Thomas, who lost his home in that tornado, spent the last year of his life helping kids and an entire town get back off the ground. He succeeded marvelously.

Then a madman with a gun shot Ed Thomas dead Wednesday morning in a weight room, before several A-P students.

It was a cold-blooded reminder there are much-worse things than tornadoes in this world.

Scott Dochterman, on how Ed Thomas might have singlehandedly saved Parkersburg from death by consolidation (a legitimate concern in small-town Iowa):

Where would that town be today without Ed Thomas? Certainly the school district moves all home football games to Aplington. Maybe the school district decides to build a new high school at another location. It’s not that far-fetched that the school district would have considered combining with another nearby district.

Maybe many in the town decide to move away to other communities, possibly the Cedar Falls-Waterloo area. Instead, Thomas demanded the high school remain in Parkersburg. He picked up debris and glass shrapnel on the football field and demanded the school play its first game following the tornado at the "Sacred Acre."

From cidsports:

Sadly, society saw a lost 24-year old throw his life away, along with the life of a beloved man, who inspired so many that he meet or those who were able to learn from his story in Parkersburg. It is sad that there is so much hatred or anger in the world today.

May we find peace. May our prayers and thoughts remain with those impacted and touched by this tragic day and this tragic event. Ed Thomas was a fine man and much more to those who really knew him.

We are now two days removed from the shock of Wednesday morning, and it's still as stunningly sad as it was when we first heard the news.  There is nothing I can write to fill the void; any further attempts at summing up the life of a great man just feel like futile attempts to add words to an unspeakable tragedy that needs no more context.  It's that old Wittgenstein quote: "Whereof one cannot speak, one must be silent." Godspeed, Coach.

With the death of Ed Thomas, not to mention the events of yesterday, this week has been depressing as hell.  So let's wrap things up with a song so staggeringly simple, depressing, and beautiful that the mere anticipation of its performance made Dave Letterman sound like a kindergartner with a speech problem.  Come Pick Me Up is, in fact, so plaintively depressing, so brutally honest in its assessment of heartache, that it borders on comical (in an ancient bootleg of Adams' first performance of the song, the crowd actually laughs at the chorus).*  In the wake of all of this, maybe what we need more than anything else is a laugh from the bottom of the well.


Have a good weekend, everyone.



* -- It's also the single greatest whiskey drinking song I've ever heard.  So if you prefer a stiff Jack Daniels to a laugh, feel free to join me.
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