The saying “Only the good die young” has evolved from an ancient proverb that read “Whom the gods love dies young; Best go first.” It seems particularly appropriate today as I was shocked to learn of the death of a well respected hockey dad within our community.
I did not know this man well, just enough to say “hi Mike” when we ran into each other at the rink. My youngest son is the same age as one of his sons, meaning the rink was a common ground for us. Our sons have since graduated from minor hockey so our families have not crossed paths in a few years. We had no idea what his family was facing with his terminal illness and subsequent death at the untimely age of 53.
What I do know was that he was a lover of all things hockey. As a former player, a coach, a hockey dad and most recently a referee, he was the kind of guy you never heard anything negative about. Even more admirable, he never had anything negative to say about anyone else.
He was definitely one of the good guys, that goes without question. What I do question though is why do only the good die young? Why do the rotten criminals get to live to old age? This is not the first time I have grappled with this theory. Several integral people (all of them good, kind, and law-abiding) in my life passed away much sooner than we all expected, including a best friend and my mother. The proverb certainly doesn’t give you much incentive to be a good person. Perhaps it was the same proverb Billy Joel was alluding to in his hit song of the same name.