Sunday, August 19, 2007

In Memorium

Andy Bogeajis is the reason I survived my Freshman year at UF. He's the reason I survived because he introduced me to UF Speech and Debate. Without Andy I would never have met some of the most important people in my life. Because undoubtedly, my life would have gone down a very different path had I not found passion in Speech and Debate in September 1997. Andy was my captain, my mentor, my big brother, and one of my dearest friends. Andy knew in his heart the definition of a Team approach to individual events. Not only was he an amazing speaker (he would say Master Debater) he was a gifted coach, and I owe much of my success on the college circuit to his mentorship...even though he did make me dress like a prostitute that one time.

In 2001, Andy was diagnosed with HIV. I was one of the first people he told on the team, because he had left UF by then, although he was never really out of touch. The last time I saw Andy was in November 2005, a few days before my wedding, when he and I ran into each other at the dress shop where I was picking up my wedding gown and he was buying a dress for his daughter Kristen for pictures.
On Friday, Andy was taken from the hundreds of students whose lives he has touched. I'm sad to say I lost touch with him when we moved to North Carolina, but I know that he went on passionately coaching on the high school and college levels, for as long as he could. The world of forensics, his teammates, his students will never forget him.
I scanned a few pictures I could find of Andy and put together what seems to be a pathetic attempt at a slideshow in his memory (it's on my myspace page because I couldn't get it to work in the blog). Granted, a lot of my pictures were left to the team (I was historian that year). I can't think about Andy without laughing or smiling. And these pictures don't do his memory justice. But they're the best I've got for now. I'm hoping others will send me pictures so we can do a better job of memorializing one of my heroes.
On a separate note, guys, we really do need to do a better job of staying in touch. When Josh told me I needed to call him, I knew someone from the team was dead. Weddings and funerals should not be the only time we call and say hello. It sucks to dread hearing from your friends because you know their voice on the other end of a phone line means someone you love is no longer a part of this world. And like I've said a few times today, hopefully it will be a long time before another one of the "who died?" calls is necessary.

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