After Kickboxing on Thursday Coach Greg Jackson gathered the entire gym on the main mats. He asked everyone to be quiet, which is odd for him. He then stated that we had lost a team mate. It seems that a friend of mine and fellow team mate, Ryan Barlow, had chosen to take his own life the night before. The news shocked us all. Greg asked everyone for a moment of silence in memory of Ryan.
I closed my eyes and thought of my friend. He was young Â and boisterous. A smile always filled his face from ear to ear. Fun loving and wild, he was a great training partner who had always sought to â€œget meâ€ because I was one of the older guys at the dojo. He was so happy when he finally tapped me on my last visit to Jacksonâ€™s. Ryan was a wild man. A night out on the town usually ended in him getting â€œpolitelyâ€ asked to leave the bar or club. He wasnâ€™t a trouble-maker, he just loved to have a good time. We can only speculate on why he would ever take his own life, however, let me make very clear that the manner of his passing is in no way indicative of his character. He will be missed. The pain he has left behind is a reminder to his friends and team mates that we must NEVER quit. Never give up. We will all miss you, Ryan, and we all hope you have found the peace you deserved so much.
The minute of silence passes. Brian Stann and Chris Luttrell share their thoughts, and they are good ones. We are a team. We are a family. We must trust in each other and be there for one another.
With that said, we are warriors, fighters and champions. Training must go on. We clear our thoughts and break for the afternoon.
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