I woke up this morning to some stunning, tragic news. It was the kind of news that's delivered by messages and calls from people you don't talk to everyday, where you look at your phone and immediately know something bad has happened. I woke up to learn that a friend had passed away suddenly last night. Darrell Copeland was 25 years old. The shock and senselessness of the news won't soon wear off, if ever.
We hired Darrell as a media relations intern for the Fresno Grizzlies in the spring of 2007. He was an absolute godsend. When thrust into a vastly increased role midway through that season, he handled himself like a seasoned veteran. We worked side by side, every day that summer. We learned together, laughed together, and made the most of unexpected situations. After his internship, Darrell became the official scorer for the Grizzlies. Seeing him at every game was one of my favorite parts of the day. Whether we were trading cracks on his beloved Fresno State Bulldogs or my Dodgers, or trying out new superstitions to spur on a winning streak, his laugh and smile were always there to greet me when I got to the press box. Darrell's easy going way made everyone feel welcome. He was a good guy, an honest guy, a guy you could always count on.
I don't think anyone can really do a suitable job of making sense of the loss of someone so young. Darrell didn't drink. Didn't smoke. Never got into trouble. He was just a clean cut, friendly kid who loved sports and his alma mater. I guess the only thing any of us can take away from such terrible news is how precious life is. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow. Each day is a gift that must be spent enjoying our loved ones.
While I can't even fathom the heartbreak Darrell's family is going through, my only hope is that the thoughts and prayers of all the people he touched somehow reach them and provide comfort sooner rather than later.
Until we meet again DC3. You will be missed.