Go Get ‘Em, Weber State!

This year I’ll be rooting for a new football team, the Weber State Wildcats.

I’ll be pulling for the Wildcats because Ted Stanley is an assistant coach there, and he deserves a break.  Ted is juggling his new job as a coach with an even newer job as a single father, of daughter Emmerson, while at the same time dealing with the recent loss of his wife Jocelyn.  Her death is still intensely painful for those of us who were fortunate to be her friends and colleagues.  I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for Ted — but, knowing Ted, I am sure that he is approaching the challenges with a positive attitude, because that’s just the way he is.  The Salt Lake Tribune recently carried an article about Ted, Emmerson, and Jocelyn that tells their story.

Many of us sports fans intuitively believe that the lucky bounce of the ball, the sudden gust of wind or the other random occurrences that can affect the outcome of games are the work of whimsical, capricious sports gods lurking somewhere above.  If that is the case, I’m hoping those gods know Ted and Emmerson’s story and let the ball bounce Weber State’s way this year.

Weber State, which plays in the Big Sky conference, starts its season tonight at 10 p.m. against Fresno State.  Go Wildcats!

Farewell To A Friend

I lost a good friend today, and the world is a meaner, sorrier place because of it.

Jocelyn Prewitt-Stanley, left, and Alycia Broz

Her name was Jocelyn Prewitt-Stanley.  She died from complications related to the birth of her first child, Emmerson — a child that she and her husband Ted dearly wanted.

Jocelyn was a lawyer at our firm.  I first worked with her when she was in our Cleveland office and had the misfortune to get a project from me.  When she moved to Columbus a few years later, I began to work with her more and more.  She was a fine trial lawyer, a hard worker, a good thinker, and a skilled advocate who was justifiably proud of the good results she achieved for clients.  When I had to assemble a dedicated “core team” to work on matters for an important client, I chose Jocelyn because I knew she would do a great job — and she did.

Of course, being a good lawyer was only a tiny fraction of what made Jocelyn a wonderful person.  No one should be defined solely by their work, and Jocelyn surely wasn’t.  She possessed a deep and indefinable serenity — yet she also had one of the great guffaws you could ever hope to hear.  She had a marvelous sense of humor, and when she became animated while telling a war story, the fingers on her hands splayed wide and her eyes lit up.  She had a dazzling smile and a dazzling personality to match.  She was active in charities and professional organizations.  She loved dogs and happily advised me, all too frequently, on how to better train the canine miscreants of the Webner household.

After we had worked together on several occasions, Jocelyn asked me to be her mentor.  I accepted with pleasure, and Jocelyn became the senior member of our merry band of mentees.  Although I technically was the mentor, I’m quite confident that I learned far more from Jocelyn than she ever learned from me.  I admired her candor and appreciated her trust, and was grateful for her patience as she listened to my side of the issues we discussed.  She worked tirelessly to help me see things from a different perspective, and she succeeded.  As I mentioned, she was a very effective advocate.

The world is a beautiful place, but it also can be inexpressibly cruel.  When an occasion of great joy like the birth of a child arrives, it is unimaginable that death might also be lurking around the corner.  Those of us who are religious may be able to find comfort in faith; the rest of us can only rail at the gross, cosmic injustice of a fate that snatches away a person like Jocelyn much, much, much too soon — and also be thankful that we had the privilege of getting to know her, even for a short period.

My heart breaks for the loss experienced by Ted, by Jocelyn’s family and Ted’s family, and most of all for the void left for little Emmerson, who will never get to know the mother who was so very ready to shower her new baby with all the love she could muster.

Saturday Night With The Crew

Last night Kish and I had my Vorys mentees — Prew, Ru, Brew, and Shu — and their families over for a cookout to start the holiday weekend.  In recognition of my recent purchase and blog posting, the mentees decided everyone should wear a hat.  It was touching gesture that made the occasion even more fun.

We had a cheese plate, chips, white bean dip, and black bean salsa.  Brew brought an orzo salad chock full of inedible vegetables.  I tried with limited success to make the addictive warm balsamic popcorn dish served at Crop in Cleveland.  Noah charmed all assembled.  White wine, pina coladas, and beer flowed like melted ice in the hot sun.  Cobby and Bram apparently found a helicopter in our bushes.  Penny behaved so badly she was ashamed to show her face to the camera.  We grilled marinated chicken, cheeseburgers, hot dogs and brats.  Prew’s lemon tart was a big hit come dessert time.

And at the end of the evening, a few hardy stalwarts remained, talking and brushing away insects in the warm summer air as afternoon turned to twilight and finally to full evening.  It was a very good way to start the Fourth of July weekend.