There Are Wins ...And Then There Are "Real" Losses

by Eddie White

August 10, 2012

What a strange week.

It began early Sunday with the startling news that Garrett Reid, the 29-year old son of Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid, had passed away unexpectedly at training camp in Pennsylvania. Andy has been a friend of mine since his days as Mike Holmgren’s assistant in Green Bay. He has ridden in my car here in Indy more than a few times going to dinner during the NFL Scouting Combine.

Editors Note: Boy Loses Battle With Leukemia

It was on those car rides we talked about FAMILY. When we got to dinner it was usually with a large group and it was talk about sports and more sports. But the car rides were talk about FAMILY. He always asked about mine. He was always a FAMILY guy!

A Dad should not bury a Son. It’s not supposed to work that way. But this week Andy did. And then he went out and coached a game. In fact in the span of FIVE DAYS he lost a son, buried that son and coached a game. All in FIVE DAYS! So quick.

Like life itself.

And then we heard the news of Lee Eddins. Lee was a 12 year old boy in Sacramento, Calif. He loved Roy Hibbert of our Pacers. He had never met Big Roy. But he followed Roy since the All Star’s years at Georgetown. Lee had been diagnosed with Leukemia and only had a month or so to live.

Lee’s family reached out to Roy to send a package of goodies or some Pacers memorabilia. Roy said that wasn’t enough. He said instead he would go "see the little fella."

The trip was arranged and by now you all know how the story ends.

On the day Roy was set to fly from Indiana to California to see his pal, Lee Eddins passed away. Roy insisted he would still make the trip. He wanted to see the family. He wanted to find out all he could about this little boy in California who had somehow, someway, over the miles, had touched HIS soul.

So, two young men—one 29, the other only 12—passed away this week. They had a link to this crazy world of sports. And, both in their own way had demons to battle.

Garrett had well-documented problems with drugs. And Garrett was born into sports. He grew up in football. And when he was taken from us last Sunday morning, he was working with his dad and with the Eagles.

Lee was trying to do battle with Leukemia by holding onto life through the world of sports. Through the sport of basketball and through the person of a certain 7 footer who lived in Indiana. He grabbed onto Big Roy’s over-sized jersey and was holding on.

But Garrett and Lee lost their battles. They lost this week.

We live in this nutty, WIN AT ALL COST world of WIN, WIN and yeah, WIN.

Their deaths remind us that while winning a game is fun, REAL winning is NOT defined by whether you beat the Redskins on Monday night or if you defeat the Heat in a seven game series.

No, winning is defined by the character and strength you exhibit. The leadership you show when most mortals would fail. Andy Reid showed a tremendous strength this week when he was there for his family, both real and football. Garrett displayed his courage, battling back over the years through drug problems to finally, work with his dad.

Lee Eddins showed his strength by never giving up hope. Did it by believing in the “Big Guy” – both Roy and the "real" Big Guy. And Roy showed his courage and strength when he STILL got on that plane to California. The easy way out was to NOT make that trip. But that’s NOT Roy Hibbert!

Garrett and Lee are in better places.

And OUR world IS a better place because of guys like Andy Reid and Roy Hibbert.