In Remembrance of a Warrior…
by Stephen Doherty
June 27th, 2021
“You become stronger only when you become weaker.
When you surrender your will to God, you discover the resources to do what God requires.” –Erwin Lutzer
In the annals of Colorado sports history, few stars have shined so bright as that of Cherry Creek & CU legend – Tommy Tesone. On June 8th, his greatest contest coming to an end, Tom passed away peacefully, surrounded by his loving family – including his soulmate and lifelong companion – his loving wife Rebekah. Their marriage and Tommy’s cancer battle exemplified the old adage of the sum being greater than the parts.
I visited Tommy three years ago when the doctors gave him just a few months to live. We hugged and he whispered to me, “Steve..I’m just not ready to go!” With those words, the warrior made the same decision he’d made on so many other occasions when the scoreboard didn’t favor him. He fought on.
For three more pain-filled years, he refused the exit in favor of distributing as much love, hope, and precious memories as he could to his family and friends. He coached girls track. He shared more time and memories with his kids and grandkids. He became an inspiration to all of his friends by how he chose to unfold the time he had left. Amidst it all, he undertook a spiritual journey with his devoted wife that amplified their Christian faith and unconditional love for one another.
My eternal affection for Tom Tesone had been a product of knowing him on many levels over the last fifty-years. As time passed, my admiration for the greatness of his athleticism faded in favor of my appreciation for his humanity. He was decent and he was kind and he was a pleasure to know. He was spiritually grounded with an abiding faith in our Heavenly Father and an unshakable belief in what lay before him upon his departure. Love and faith are a powerful combination under any circumstances but perhaps none more so than responding to that ominous knock on the door awaiting all of us.
Under these challenging circumstances, I would imagine that bitterness and regret and sorrow would be easy and welcome companions. To the contrary. Tom was a model of humility, dignity, poise, and spiritual calmness. He was far more concerned with living his life and taking care of his family than he was in feeling sorry for himself. This is what I’ll remember above all. Unconditional love and a warrior’s courage carving out three years of life that was grabbed – not given.
What I’ll remember most about Tommy Tesone’s final battle, was the manner in which he waged it. He refused to yield the pen to a deadly medical prognosis and instead, wrested it back from fate, and proceeded to add several more impressive chapters – in many ways his greatest chapters – before signing off and laying it down. In the end, Tom Tesone wasn’t taken from us. He stared down his own demise and diligently and masterfully crafted his own exit.
When I think of Tom Tesone, I will forever choose to remember how he lived. Someday, when I get that inevitable knock on my own door, I will smile and I will remember what Tom Tesone said and did, and I will respond, “Come back later! I’m not ready!”
God speed, Tommy Tesone. We will never forget you..
When we are touched by something
it’s as if we’re being brushed by an angel’s wings. Rita Dove