The past week has put me in a contemplative mood. There were many fitting tributes this week, the match against Toronto and Steve Sirk's book marked his impact and remember Kirk Urso better than I ever could, I cannot recommend it enough. The grant the Crew Soccer Foundation to Children's Hospital continues to help in the spirit of the man it honors.
Personally, I had very few chances to talk with Kirk and I certainly didn't know him beyond his play on the field and a few passing conversations. Early in preseason in 2012, it was clear he was different than the usual late round draftee. He wasn't the heralded pick like 2012 first rounder Ethan Finlay, but he stepped on the field and played like he belonged. He didn't cut corners and he put in every ounce of effort in every drill.
That attitude was at the forefront in the few conversations I had with him. As starter in his first five MLS games, he kept a level head. Through an injury that took him out of the lineup, he still was focused on the work to get back on the field. Ill at ease watching from the sidelines and not being able to help his team, he wasn't bitter or angry, just impatient. There was too much work to do to let an injury slow him down.
I often think about Kirk's impact and it comes back to his indomitable spirit, put so tidily wrapped into one of his favorite sayings, "I am strong. I will overcome." It can be hard to put one foot in front of the other in the face of adversity, but that spirit was apparent in the days after his death in the way so many people came together to remember the man who made such a mark on so many people.
There are days when failure feels like a close friend, the road is long, and I can't see the way things will work out. That's when I let Kirk give me some advice — I am strong. I will overcome.