I have two favorite candies. Reese’s and Skittles. Reese’s are comforting. Skittles make me smile and are my absolute favorite candy to eat while bowling.

This has been a strange year. Very, very strange. Kind of…an everything happens for a reason year. When Zeke and I were still together in November we started talking about State Tournament. I said as long as I bowled with him that’s all that mattered to me. We had a team that we normally bowled with and had people on it that I bowled with every year. This year we moved to a different team that I didn’t know as well but we would bowl together. Then we broke up in January.

All of a sudden State Tournament became something I was nervous about. I thought about finding a sub. Zeke never told me but one of the other team members told me that he dropped off for another tournament. The guys that were on the team bowled in league with me and they struggled to find someone to replace Zeke so soon. Most of them I’d had very short conversations with before this point but I decided I would bowl.

It was my first tournament back after a month break from bowling tournaments. I was an emotional wreck the entire months of January and February and I needed to get my mind right. I was ready to come back but I kept thinking about how different this tournament was supposed to feel. The dynamic surrounding the idea of bowling on this team was different. The questions of how’s Zeke, are you okay, what happened hadn’t disappeared completely.

Randy Gold invited me to breakfast the day of the tournament with the rest of the team. I decided that I wanted to sleep in a little bit longer before my drive to Dayton. We had never talked much before the tournament. I had respect for him and everyone had pretty good things to say but our circles just didn’t cross very much.  When I got there he welcomed me with a big smile and a hug and then said I have a surprise for you. He pulled a movie theatre size box of Skittles out of his coat pocket. I was just shocked. I asked him…”how did you know?” He just flashed his signature smile and said “I’ve got my ways.” He told me he had to hide them from his grandchildren so that they survived to be devoured by us that day. It was one of the sweetest things that anyone has ever done for me. Even though we didn’t bowl great, I had a lot of fun bowling with that team and smiled a lot that whole day. It was mostly because of Randy.

I thanked him for bowling with me at States and making me feel so welcome. He said that I was welcome anytime that I wanted to bowl with them. I tried to show him how important he was to me that day. I was really looking forward to joking around with him in the future and hopefully bowling with him again sometime. On a day that could have been another emotional set back Randy helped me take a giant step forward. I knew I could start bowling tournaments again.

Today, I found out that he passed away suddenly. I now know why I needed to bowl on that State Team this year.  Randy Gold cared about people. He might have disagreed with you but at the end of the day he was there if you needed him (or if he thought you might need something…like a box of Skittles). I can’t believe that he is gone. I am sending my thoughts to his family as they move forward without his physical presence.  Thank you for touching my life Randy. I’ll never forget you.