BUCYRUS, Ohio – A boy, a blacktop, a basketball and a hoop.
Those things combined make for the best caregiver a child can have. Where so much is learned about the game, life and responsibility. Rain, snow, sleet or shine, the basketball court is a sanctuary. A place where friends are made and friendships last a lifetime.
A place where kids can feel safe. A place where the sound of a bouncing ball and the swish of a net sounds sweeter than tiny rain drops on a tin roof. A place where a kid can be a kid and learn the valuable lessons of competition. It is a place where toughness is built and pick-up games are call your own fouls, which no one ever does.
But most of all, it is a place where kids can go and return home. Maybe with a few bumps and bruises from a trip to the rim, or a rolled ankle from spending countless hours on the court and muscles simply not able to give more. For Bucyrus junior Noah Lear, it was home.
On Feb. 27, Noah and three friends (Trenton Dunford, Andy Randolph and Michael Hernandez) were doing what they, and many kids do, playing basketball at the Baptist Church in Bucyrus. The 16-year old went to dunk a basketball and the support post, backboard and rim came down crushing Noah’s head and neck. The freak accident left Noah fighting for his life and his world changed in the blink of an eye.
You know the story. You know the who, what, when and where. But what no one knows is the why. Why would something like this happen to such a promising young man with his entire life ahead of him? That answer will never come. It is hard to imagine the event being part of a bigger plan.
The sayings read: everyone had a destiny and life is planned. But why was this Noah’s plan? It makes zero sense. He was just playing the game he loved.
What Noah Lear’s death did was bring the Bucyrus community closer together. More than 700 people arrived for his calling hours on Sunday at Bucyrus High School. An even bigger army — more than 1,100 people — showed up on Monday for the funeral.
Noah was described as the ultimate teammate by his junior varsity basketball coach Josh Coleman. The guy everyone wanted to be around and who would give anything for his team to be successful. The one who wore the red, black and white of Bucyrus (Ohio) High School proudly and respectfully. The one who represented the school in a way that would make it proud.
So on a starry night, check out the sky and roam for a special star. The one that gleams red, black and white, the brightest one in the sky: that’s Noah.