I didn't know the man. But I could recognize the fire. In a professional setting, with all eyes on you, it is easier to manifest the fire of life - what in karate we call kiai. Still, many don't. He played games, yes, but the stakes were high enough for them to stop seeming like games anymore. The man was not perfect but when the gauntlet was thrown, he did not shy away - he was not bashful.
He did not settle.
For better or worse. People speak of Kobe Bryant and they speak first of the fire - of kiai. There is a lesson here - not because he could put a ball through a hoop, not because he was one of the best in the world to do it. The lesson is that he fought his way there. He fought his way there, and other people, many people, who saw his fight, felt humbled by it.
I am unsettled by the thought of perishing without making my fire real. I am more unsettled by the thought of my daughter going before her time or of me not being able to kindle her fire within.
I like this feeling, this mortal weariness. I will not mourn the passing of this man. He lived more in his 41 years than I might live in 80.
I will mourn his daughter and the others aboard and I will take this lesson to heart. A small spark...
A vivid reminder that we are running out of time. Time is of the essence - it is here to be used.
Use time. Don't just exist in it.