But for the past two days the news has been filled with reports about the passing of Ingrid Williams, wife of Monty Williams (ex-coach of the Pelicans, assistant coach to the OKC thunder).
I’ve spent a lot of time reading about this, and I don’t know how to put it all into words, but this is a bit from a SI piece on Ryan Anderson (http://www.si.com/nba/2014/11/13/ryan-anderson-gia-allemand), a player from the Pelicans who was coached by Monty, and who lost his girlfriend in 2013:
“Pelicans coach Monty Williams hurrying in with a team security guard and finding Ryan slumped on the carpet, his back to the door, unable to rise. Williams dropping to his knees and hugging his player, the two men rocking back and forth.
For Williams, the night was a test of sorts. A fourth-year coach, Williams had played at Notre Dame and then for five NBA teams. He and Anderson were unusually close. Both men were Christians, and they bonded immediately despite the vast differences in their backgrounds. Williams grew up poor and once, at Notre Dame, considered suicide. That didn’t make it any easier to relate to Anderson now, however. Everyone’s pain is different.
As a crowd milled outside the apartment complex, Williams and the security guard hoisted up Ryan, who was limp and drenched with tears and sweat, too hysterical even to walk. They dragged Ryan to the elevator and then into a waiting car, the tops of his feet, still wedged into flip-flops, scraping the asphalt so hard that his toes still bear thick white calluses more than a year later.
As they drove in silence, Williams kept thinking that it was fine if he blew a game, but he couldn’t mess up now. Once home, he huddled with his wife, Ingrid, and Ryan in the family room, praying. Ingrid’s brother had committed suicide recently. She knew not to say it was going to be O.K., because it wasn’t. “This is going to be hard for a long time,” she told Ryan.
That night, as the family pastor came and went, Ryan cried so much that it felt as if he were dry heaving or bleeding internally. Each convulsion ripped his insides apart. Around 1 a.m., at Ingrid’s urging, Monty brought one of his sons’ mattresses down to the living room. There the two men lay through the night, Ryan curled on the sofa and his coach on the floor next to him. When Ryan wanted to talk, they talked. Otherwise there was only his muted sobbing. Finally, just after the sun came up, Ryan fell into a fitful sleep.”
Doc Rivers (current coach for the Clippers who once worked with Monty Williams) said this:
“I am heartbroken, i am sick to death… once again it puts this stuff that we do into perspective. this is awful. and obviously our love and our support and all that, but sometimes that doesn’t seem fair. there is no better human being in the world than Monty and Ingrid, and for this to happen it’s just – sometimes you question everything.”
And this is a guy who worked with Monty some 15?20? years back.
So as the league mourns the passing of Ingrid, I want to remember (for myself) this – that Williams, an NBA coach, knew full well that “it was fine if he blew a game, but he couldn’t mess up now”. Yes. Everyone knows that people should matter more than things, but it’s so easy to forget that if we’re always chasing and chasing and chasing things. So help us Lord, to be desperate, to be hungry for the things that really count. Not to be out there running after things that are meaningless, but to love truly and deeply and faithfully. And when we are unable to give anymore, lead us to your son Jesus Christ and to His love displayed at the Cross, that we might find in Him new strength, new comfort, new mercies for each new day. Give the peace and comfort that only You can bring to Monty Williams and his children, and those affected by Ingrid’s passing. Amen.