Eric Johnson died the other day when his car went off I-35 and hit a bridge post about four miles from Lebo. He lived in Overland Park, but he grew up in west Wichita.
I first met Eric in the sixth grade at Peterson School. I don’t remember how we met, but even when Eric was a kid he was someone you could not ignore.
He liked to talk … a lot.
He was a big kid and became a fixture on athletic teams in the Westurban Little League, at Hadley Junior High School, and Wichita West High. Eric and I were teammates on eight basketball and football teams. We were often in the same car pool … our parents driving us to and from practices, often before sun-up and after sun-down.
Later … as adults … we were teammates again … on a softball team.
I hadn’t seen Eric much the past few years. He came to a couple of school reunions.
I wouldn’t call him a close friend, but he was a teammate and that means we knew each pretty well.
Like I said, Eric was a guy you could not ignore.
Our thought for today is from Yogi Berra:
“When you’re part of a team, you stand up for your teammates. Your loyalty is to them. You protect them through good and bad, because they’d do the same for you.”