Thursday, January 23, 2014

Unbreakable

You will never do anything in this world
Without Courage.
It is the greatest quality of the Mind
Next to Honor.
-Aristotle

On the very first Saturday of 2014, the Monroe Township High School Varsity Ice Hockey Team played a game against Vernon High School at Skylands Ice World Arena, which is located in Sussex County, New Jersey.  Senior Mike Nichols, the Assistant Captain on the Monroe Township team, was checked from behind and struck the boards headfirst.  He sustained a severe spinal cord injury - a fracture of his C-5 vertebrae.  He was airlifted from the arena in Sussex County to Morristown Memorial Hospital where he has remained. 

Mike Nichols is the oldest of Steve and Christine Nichols' three children.  As a parent, nothing prepares you for something as life-altering as one of your kids sustaining a serious, potentially devastating injury.  There is no manual to consult for guidance, no yogi atop a high, remote mountain peak to dispense words of wisdom regarding how to handle it.  You just do it.  And thus far, Steve and Christine Nichols have done remarkably well.  http://nj1015.com/monroe-rallies-around-injured-teen-hockey-player-audio/

It is not an understatement to say that the Nichols family has been aided in their effort by the community to which their son belongs - Monroe Township High School - and the community in which they live.  Friends and neighbors have done what friends and neighbors do in times like this.  They have come together.  They have embraced the notion that for present purposes at least a little bit of Mike Nichols belongs to - and has been entrusted to - each and every one of them.  Links in a chain.  The strength of the organism lies not in its individual, separate pieces but in its singularity.  Its uniformity of purpose.  

I am neither a medical doctor nor someone who has ever played one on television.  It is neither my place nor my inclination to offer a prognosis as to Mike Nichols' long-term recovery.  I simply do what lay people do - I consult the Facebook page that has been created and on which his parents keep their community abreast of Mike's daily activities, etc.  The page is entitled "Pray for Mikey 23".  In addition to serving as a conduit for updating his condition it also serves as a repository for various fund-raising ideas and events that have been scheduled (and those that have already taken place) in an effort to help the Nichols family handle the very expensive proposition of their son's long-term care.  I would encourage you to take a moment to peruse it.  https://www.facebook.com/#!/prayformikey23

While their Assistant Captain and classmate has remained hospitalized since that fateful Saturday against Vernon, the Monroe Township Varsity Ice Hockey Team has continued to play on without him.  Their first game after the incident was the very next Saturday against Woodbridge.  They lost.  While Mike Nichols could not be with his teammates on the ice, he was with them on the bench.  His #23 sweater was hung in a place of honor behind the Monroe Township bench.  He did not play in the game.  Yet, he was there with them the entire time.  

That is how it is with links in a chain.  As long as the chain remains unbroken, the links shall always remain together - in proximity with and connected to one another.  It is a bond that remains inviolate.  Always has.  Always will.

Just like the spirit of a hockey player.... 



....Unbreakable

-AK        

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