Anthony Keith “Tony” Gwynn died recently. A professional baseball player, Gwynn was known as “Captain Video” and “Mr. Padre” for his highlight reel performance as a big league hitter with the San Diego Padres. He could hit the “long ball” and did so quite often. Tony Gwynn died from complications related to his fight with cancer, cancer of the salivary glands, presumably brought about at least in part by his longtime habit of smokeless “chewing” tobacco usage. No matter the cause, he died too young. He was 54 years old and leaves behind his wife, a son and a daughter. I too am 54 years of age. Tony Gwynn died too young.
We read about famous people passing away, and if you are like me, you think about perhaps when you saw that person last–maybe it was a television show, or a sports event, or a movie–and you think to yourself “now they are gone”. We can be affected by the loss of those we idolize, those we admire, those we cheer on, those who bring entertainment and brief joy into our lives. They don’t know us, but we know them. And when they depart, we can and often do feel the loss, even if at a distance.
I was on a long road trip when I heard the news that Tony Gwynn had passed away. It shouldn’t impact me–it doesn’t immediately change anything in my personal life. But the reminder is there; life is short.
The apparel company and sports brand icon Nike ran a series of marketing efforts around the saying “Life is Short; Play Hard”. Whether you play hard or not, work hard (or not), it really doesn’t matter…life is still short. That is true for every one of us. We are given a finite amount of time on this planet. When we are young, it seems endless. But as we age, we see it is not. The value of the time remaining for each one of us increases day by day, while the time itself decreases.
Make the most of your time. Even the writer James, in the New Testament of the Bible, once commented that life is like “a vapor” (steam) that “appears for a short time and then vanishes away (James 4:14 is the verse I am paraphrasing here). The clock is ticking away. What we do with the time we have is up to us, so live your life to the fullest, use the time wisely and keep your perspective during both good times and bad times. Life is short, so let’s all make the most of what time we’ve been allotted.