Tribute to lost mate
SOME cried, others saluted the heavens.
Everyone embraced in memory of their fallen friend.
The University of Sydney men's football team led a moving tribute yesterday to their talented team-mate who won't be leaving Coffs Harbour with them at the end of the Eastern University Games after he was struck by a car at Sapphire and died Monday morning.
They were joined in the remembrance by the university's women's footy players in an emotional show of solidarity and respect under sullen skies.
The players were among the 2000 students at every games venue who paused for a minute's silence for the 20-year-old man who died from head injuries.
His distraught family has requested his name not be released but they will be touched to know his team has decided to stay and play in his honour in the hope of successfully defending their gold medal.
“They're obviously determined to play on,” said Australian University Sport general manager Tony Jermyn.
“I think the best way to pay their respects is to win the competition. They're going to have a go at it.”
The team and the other University of Sydney participants are staying strong despite the loss of their mate, thanks in large part to the support and counselling they've had. The university's chief counsellor arrived in Coffs Harbour on Monday.
“I think the main thing is their grief process is not going to finish at the end of this event. Their university will make sure they have support when they get home,” Mr Jermyn said.
“The games community is very close. Today's tribute gives everyone an opportunity to pay their respects and to say ‘we know what you're going through'.”
The young man was in his second year at Sydney University's Faculty of Health Sciences and was well known in university sport circles. Geoff Price, the general member of the Cumberland Student Guild, where the man was a member, drove to Coffs Harbour when he was told of the tragedy. He said it had been a tough time for all concerned.