Earlier today was scanning Facebook when I saw this heartbreaking posting from Jim Fischer, my former cross country and track coach at the University of Delaware …
I did a little Googling and, indeed, found the awful news. Ed Quigley—husband, father of three, hospital employee and former Blue Hen teammate, had died.
I was crushed.
It’s a weird thing to say. I was teammates with Ed for but one season, when I was a freshman and he was a senior. We weren’t particularly tight. We hadn’t spoken in more than 20 years. Hell, I’m not even sure whether we exchanged messages on Facebook (though we were Facebook friends).
And yet, with the news, I found myself thinking back to my freshman year in Newark, Delaware, when I was a truly awful runner and Ed—a smart kid out of Pennsylvania—was a good one. Although I had no business being on that team (among Division I studs, I was a mid-level NAIA scrub), I was embraced and encouraged by my peers. None were kinder or more enthusiastic than Ed, who always offered a warm word; was quick with advice; rarely complained and seemed to eternally see the bright side. I fondly recall the long training runs the team took together—eight … nine … ten miles of free banter and ragging and debating. Ed was a big part of the scene; a key part of the scene. I feel like I can still hear his voice. It was soft. Understated.
Over the course of the afternoon, I thought much about Ed, his wife Tristan, his children. I thought about dreamy days from long ago, when we were young and optimistic and happy to trot through the wooded acres behind Christiana Towers.
At one point, as thoughts of Ed Quigley darted through my head, I was shocked to see the local high school cross country team jog past my car on a training run. They were breathing heavily, long legs galloping, arms churning, slicing through the cold air.
It seemed appropriate.