Two years ago today, a High School Senior with a bright football career ahead of them died. His name was Reggie Garrett and he attended West Orange Stark High School in Orange, Texas. He was #12 and was great quarterback.
After completing a touchdown pass he walked to sidelines and collapsed and subsequently died. It was a major shock to the community. Still today you can see people with “WOS #12” or “112%” (Reggie’s catchphrase) on their cars. There is a memorial for him at the school and football field.
It it hard to believe that it has been two year ago.
Below is what I wrote for the church I was serving at the time, First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Orange, Texas.
WOS #12. It is hard not to have noticed the number 12 and condolences being given around our town this past week. The impact that Reggie Garrett has had on the lives of the people of Orange, on West Orange-Stark High School, on the football players he called his friends and to his family, is almost palpable. This is not limited to our little corner of the world; Reggie’s story made national headlines on the Today Show and ESPN. Even Cowboys Head Coach, Wade Phillips, sent the school a letter of condolences. One young man’s tragedy has in a sense, unified the town. The barriers of school district lines and on the field rivalries seemed to simply vanish over night. Hundreds of people from all walks of life, race, creeds, color and ethnicities gathered at WOS to honor a life taken from us. I have been thinking a lot about Reggie and about his family. I have been reflecting on his life and the impact that he made on so many people. This situation is not one that comes with an easy answer to the tough and almost natural question of “why?”; “Why did God allow such a bad thing to happen?” To be honest, there might not be an answer that will satisfy our primal curiosities. However, in the midst of such sadness and distress, the message of God’s love and provision is evident in the scriptures. The Revelation of John speaks of a time when pain and hurt are no more, when tears will be wiped away and a new order of things will come into being. This is the expected hope of Christians; the hope that one day God will right the wrongs and set the world back on a course where the answers to life’s questions are not full of ones that do not hold much merit. Revelation 21: 1-4 reads: Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, „See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.‟
May we cling to the hope of this day. May we remember the life of Reggie Garrett. May we mourn his passing and look to the future when God’s reign will be over us.
WOS #12. RIP Reggie Garret.