He Would Have Said, “One Love.”
Live the hell out of life. I want this cliche to resonate more than it does right now. I’ve been repeating it to myself for two days ever since our very close friend (and Julio’s best friend), Sean, died suddenly at the age of 46. Why can’t I feel more inspired to LIVE and DREAM and ACT considering the person Sean was and especially considering that his important, inspiring, loving, beautiful life was gone in one flash, in one puzzling massive heart attack, one collapse at a restaurant at an age younger than mine. But the saying falls flat, cocooned in disbelief and devastation — and fear –, like I’m at a crossroads; the road in front believes the cliche 100% and is willing to put the most daring things into motion. The road behind seems comforting and safe. I want to curl up for a while and not think. I know I’ll regret retreat. Sean would kill me for even looking back.
We met in 1998 on the basketball courts of the infamous Lakeshore Towers in Irvine. During that year there was an NBA lock out and NBA players flocked to these courts to play pick-up games. Julio and I played there twice a week most weeks and on one late afternoon, Julio warmed up with Sean. They casually shot baskets and shot the shit. Both from back east, they connected. Our kids — we both only had one at the time — were the same age. And that was the start of the closest friendship Julio has ever had. They could be real with each other — and loyal and vulnerable, which for two tough guys is not only important, it’s hard to find. What they had was special and it stayed that way no matter where Sean traveled during his career.
My first interaction with Sean was during a pick up game at Lakeshore. We were on the same team. I was almost always the only woman to play in these games and the regular players were already really good, but during the lock out, the level of ball went up a hundred fold. So, Sean and I were on a team and I was intimidated — or more, I didn’t want to eff it all up. The amount of respect I had on these courts had been very hard-earned. During one play Sean grabbed a defensive rebound and broke for our basket. I instinctively sprinted too, filling the lane. Defenders gravitated toward Sean so he passed the ball to me and I drove and made the lay up, my defender too late because he was focusing on Sean. The right play was to pass to me and it was so routine and obvious to Sean. Most of the regular players would have kept the ball, even with two defenders on them, turned it over, thinking nothing of it while I’d shake my head in frustration. I was so appreciative of Sean’s lack of ego and that, as a pro, he just played the game how it was meant to be played. Running back down the court, Sean nonchalantly held out his hand. I slapped it. He said, “Good finish.”
Soon after, there were many BBQ’s and dinners and nights out and birthdays and concerts and straight hanging out, talking incessantly and watching movies and games and playing pick-up ball. There were family trips to Palm Springs and Julio traveled to every city Sean was traded. We both had a second child the same year, and they were close when they were little, Maya and Kameron especially. Julio helped Sean immensely through his divorce, and we kept hanging out. Those are my favorite memories of Sean, when the three of us talked ceaselessly about big-life themes. The point always boiled down to: live your best life and be the best person you can.
The last time we went out dancing, we went to The Room in Santa Monica. He and Julio had a little too much to drink and I made them pasta arrabiata at two in the morning. We hilariously blew up an air mattress for Sean so he didn’t have to drive home. At 6’10”, he slept on it diagonally with his big-ass feet hanging off the end. He didn’t care. Because who cares about minor details when you’re with people you love and feel safe — and who will cook you pasta in the wee hours when you’re drunk.
This post makes me feel better. Sharing just a little bit of our friendship helps clear the fog. Thinking about him and his golden character and his desire to always be thoughtful and do right, to be loved, to love, to parent with all his being continues to move me. His complex, gentle mind and three-dimensional ability to love and give mean much more to me than a cliche. That memory of him inspires me to move forward — or it will when I feel a little better.
I love you so much, Sean. Thank you for such a great friendship. You are missed terribly.
7 Sets @ 65% C&J
2 Jerk drives
1 Split jerk
Bike for cal
A) 3 rounds on: 3:00min (2min cap)
5 Pull Ups
10 Push Ups
15 OH Squats w/ pvc
Bike for Cals (30/20)
Run 1250m (Big Loop)