Today, I'm really wishing I had savored my time with Margo
Her Facebook page is awash in tributes, four different languages' worth, from people who knew her well and didn't know her at all. But when you lived your life carrying light, always looking to illuminate, your legacy endures.
And Margo Dydek, the genteel, gentle soul who played three seasons for the Connecticut Sun, will endure. Margo died at 37 on Friday, following a heart attack. She was three months pregnant. She leaves a husband, David, and two other children. She leaves the rest of us without "Margie," "Large Marge," "Malgorzata," "Malgosiu."
• Scott Miller: "I handled media relations for the Utah Starzz when she was the top pick in the '98 draft. Margo stood 7-2 and had a heart just as big. Even though she could dunk the ball, she never did in a game because she didn't want to show up the competition. My kids loved being around her and she loved to spend time with them after games."
• Ada Wilczynska: "Coz mozna powieziec o kims, kto byl zbyt mlody by umrzec? Serce sie kraja." (What can we say about someone who was too young to die? Heart of the country).
• Gaelle Pamart: "Avec mes plus beaux souvenirs. Une grande dame s'est éteinte." (With my fondest memories. A great lady passed away).
• Jessica Perez: "Margo, siempre estarás en nuestros corazones. Descansa en paz." (Always in our hearts. Rest in peace."
• Nykesha Sales: Margo you were so dear to my heart, may your kind and loving spirit live on through your children. Rest in Peace. I Love You."
You just want to cry.
Especially when you see the profile picture on Dydek's Facebook page comes from her days with the Sun, Margo in mid jump shot. It inspires happier memories, better days. And yet days that tug at your soul.
They are days that haunt you, forcing you to wonder: Did we savor the time? Most of us know we didn't. A lesson we've learned a million times, reinforced once again, through the death of a woman whose humility, humanity and humor meant so much more than her rebound totals.
Bill Tavares, the Sun's media relations manager, likes to call the WNBA a "secret society." He means if you take the time to understand it, your reward is tenfold. The WNBA is different than most, if not all, other pro sports leagues for this reason: You can get to know players on a deeper level. For one thing, they allow you to do so. Maybe because they're not sniveling millionaires conditioned into believing their every belch comes from some higher order.
It doesn't apply to every player. But it applies to many. And it gives fans the only thing fans ever want: The ability to feel uniquely connected to the object of their fandom.
In nine summers here, I've gotten to know Lindsay Whalen, Katie Douglas, Tamika Raymond, Nykesha Sales and Asjha Jones, among others.
Margo, too, was one of the players here who let you in. You could talk to her on a number of subjects, on and off the court. She spoke English, Polish, French, Spanish, Russian (at least).
My overwhelming guilt today is tethered to missed opportunities that presented themselves every day she was here.
Know why? Because I spent so much time critiquing her game - much of it negatively - I missed the person.
Sportswriting is not writing about sports. It is writing about people. It is finding the ones who let you in and telling their story.
I missed the real Margo. The real Margo is the personification of the United Nations whose life gets celebrated in four languages.
Final Facebook recollection from Candice Dowler Smith: "As we pray for Margo and her family, let's be certain that her sons always know what an incredible mother/friend/woman she was.
If you'd like to contribute personal stories and recollections for a memory book that will be given to the family, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The purpose of the book is to keep Margo ever present and real to her little boys, despite their being so young. … Anything that reminds them of how real a woman she was."
We end now with a sentiment from all the languages she spoke. To Margo:
Repose en paix.
Spoczywaj w pokoju.
Descanse en pas.
Otdyh v mire.
Rest in peace.
This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro.
Stories that may interest you
The Day to showcase holiday hoops classic at Mohegan Sun Arena
Somebody's got to be brave enough to stand up for the segment of society that has tried to do the right thing, only to watch COVID-19 surge again.
North Stonington looks to test surface water quality for potential sewage pollution for first time since 19767:00 pm