The New England Patriots have had something to be excited about this off-season.
This spring and summer has been one of the most fruitful for the hometown boys from Foxboro. With draft picks and trades this summer, the Patriots have definitely been trying to position themselves to be one of the top teams in the National Football League this year and for years to come.
So, as Patriot fans, we have been brimming with excitement and anticipation for the upcoming season. How is Randy Moss going to be in New England? How is Brady going to do with the plethora of wide receivers he now has? Is Asante Samuel going to sign a contract and stay a Patriot?
It has been a summer of endless questions and nervous anticipation.
Then, on Memorial Day weekend, football fans of all teams were shocked when they learned that the young 24-year-old defensive lineman, Marquise Hill was found dead in a lake after a tragic jet-ski accident.
Sometimes in life fans and players get snapped back to the realities of the world.
We learn quickly when tragedy occurs that life is a precious thing and should be appreciated every single day.
Whether you work in an office, play on the football field, or run a major corporation, life can be taken with swiftness in the blink of an eye.
Sometimes we put a sort of "majestic" quality on professional sports players. They seem to be untouchable and sometimes they have a 'larger than life' quality about themselves. When something like this happens, we realize that even the richest and most famous of people are susceptible to the grips of every day life.
We need to take the tragic deaths of players such as Hill and St. Louis Cardinal pitcher Joshua Hancock and use them as springboards to doing more with our lives while we are here.
Use your time here on earth as a soapbox to preach to your friends and family on how life is good and a lot of good can come from it. If your life were taken tomorrow, what would people remember the most about you?
It is going to be very strange for the New England Patriots this season to see an empty locker where Marquise Hill used to reside. It is going to be different each time they go into the weight room and not see No. 91 there pumping iron with the rest of the team. When the Patriots run on the field for the first time against the New York Jets, No. 91 will not be running with them in schoolboy-like anticipation of the season to come.
This season and throughout our time on Earth, we need to take a moment and just reflect on life in general and ask ourselves, what kind of impact have I made today with my friends and family and coworkers. Make a difference and make an impact every single day and live life like every day was your last.
Let's take the memory of No. 91 and the life that was so tragically cut short and use it to make us live the rest of ours with flavor and tenacity. Live life at its fullest and remember to reflect every once in a while to see what you are doing and appreciate it a little.
I am sure that they will but, I am hoping that the organization will dedicate this season to the life and legacy of Marquise Hill and what his life could have been and what is was already.
Rest in Peace Marquise, we as Patriot nation are with you in our prayers and thoughts.
Shane is a lifelong Patriots fan who grew up in Worcester, MA. He showed his Patriots spirit by representing his home team all over the world while in the military. A resident of Bangor, ME remains a diehard fan of the team and regularly makes the 500 mile round trip trek to watch them whenever he can.