Tony's Take: The Tragedies Of Sport Can Be Breath Taking

Roosevelt Davis (#3283) was a gifted and tremendous star in time at E. St. Louis Senior HS

Spring time is usually the time where we all emerge from a long winter slumber. The thawing temperatures bring warmer climes which lead to prom season and spring sports. From there is an opportunity to catch up with long lost friends. There is also the element of danger that permeates the air as well...

Recently on a road trip I seized the opportunity to meet with some childhood friends. One is a counselor and the other is a lawyer. We laughed and joked and caught up on old times as well as new ones. But there was an element of danger that we dodged growing up. My lawyer buddy "Trenz" mentioned that although he loves his career, he first choice was to be an FBI agent. Unfortunately our surroundings would not allow it. Trenz said that one home visit from college changed it all. "I recall one day coming home for a visit to see aunt 'Daisy' and walked into her living and she was cutting up rock cocaine right there," Trenz said. "I said 'DAMN' the FBI is going to interview all of my friends and family, so I knew that I had to change fields and never come back here again." For Trenz it was a hard decision to make, but at the same time it was an easy life choice, and one he had to do to protect himself and his loved ones.

I come from the same environment and I remember when I had to make a life and death situation while in college. It was one hot and sticky late summer late night that I went to an after party with several neighborhood friends. The usual fun and laughter was replaced by some anger and jealously of a few patrons of the party that spilled outside of the venue. As situations between feuding parties intensified, one guy threatened to go and get his gun. It did not take long for me to realize that it was time to go. Before I could get out of the area one of the angry patrons pulled his weapon. Instinctively, I jumped down and got underneath a car. Fortunately, no one was shot or even injured that night, but that close call was all I needed to avoid a tragedy. 

Unfortunately not all make it through the maize and traps of the 'hood. And sadly this story does not end as a fairy tale. Roosevelt Davis was a young man that I fondly remember three seasons ago when he ran 47.45 in the 400m to place third at the state meet. Davis was one of the most gifted athletes to come along in the legendary E. St. Louis Senior High School lore. So in 2016 the expectations were heavy upon him and his teammates to do something special. But a shortened indoor campaign left Davis to contribute in the relays. He and his teammates completed the daunted task of being #1 by winning the 4x400 relay and with it the team state championship.

After the smoke cleared and the championship celebration vibes died down inside of O'Brien Stadium, I wished Davis well in his future endeavors. I asked him where he was going to school the next year. There was a pause followed by a little uncertainly of what he wanted to do. I did not care about his accolades at the moment. I told him to be safe and do the right thing. "Yes sir," he said back at me. We hand shook embraced and departed ways. This would be the last time that I would personally hear of Roosevelt Davis. Davis was killed over the weekend standing outside of a convenience store waiting for a friend... #restinparidise

Here is the 2016 IHSA State Championship pre-state video vibe. Check out E. St. Louis Sr teammates featuring Roosevelt at 12:21.