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Trojan loss felt throughout community

A very true friend of mine and to the sports staff at The Messenger had a very difficult week last week.

Ricky Hazel is the sports information director at Troy University, and he lost his father two weekends ago. It has been a rough time for him and his family, and I prayed for him with all I had while driving home to see my own dad that same day.

I got word via text message that Ricky sent Saturday as I was driving home.

I was driving home to see my dad and hang out with him for his 50th birthday party.

I felt guilty when I got the text message. I felt miserably sad for Ricky and his family.

We all take dad for granted, and I thought about that for a long time as I drove from Troy to Dothan.

I turned on the Troy football game on my radio as the Trojans were taking on ULM, and that got me thinking.

Not everyone is blessed to have such a wonderful father figure in their life like Ricky and I and many others have.

Not everyone gets the chance to throw the baseball or watch football with their dad.

Ricky and I have gotten that opportunity, and I know he, like myself, wouldn’t trade those times for anything in the world.

Sometimes we often take a lot of things for granted besides that too.

For instance when Troy played Rice in the New Orleans Bowl a few years back, I didn’t really even attempt to go to the game because I knew they would be back there next year.

Well Troy got things rolling last year to an undefeated start in conference play. They made it all the way to the last game until they lost to another one-loss conference team in FAU.

FAU won the tiebreaker, and Troy’s season was over.

I was mad. We all were mad.

We all wanted the trip to New Orleans.

It would have been the second time for some, but it would have been my first trip down there since I was a kid.

I was with my mother, my sister and dad.

We had a blast, and I’m pretty sure I took that time for granted too.

I’m saying all of that to get to the point I’m trying to make.

Life is too short to bank on next year.

Life is too short to bank on tomorrow.

Benjamin Franklin put it the best way possible.

“Certainty? The only certainty in life is death and taxes.”

I am certain that I believe that is true.

So while thinking out all of this in a seemingly short ride to Dothan, I have some advice.

If Troy goes to the New Orleans Bowl and you want to go, then absolutely order tickets.

Take your son. Take your dad.

Take the trip, and soak up every blessed second you are granted to spend with your family.

Soak it up just like I did when I went to see my dad for his birthday.

Ricky, I can’t imagine the pain you’re feeling right now and you are in my prayers.

Ben Stanfield is a sports reporter for The Messenger. He can be reached at 670-6316 or online at ben.stanfield@troymessenger.com.