Shocking News

I know this doesn’t gel with the general tone of my blog, but that really doesn’t matter. I am sad. Not just feeling a bit meh about life – deep-down, heavy-hearted sad. I got news yesterday that Steve Aitken is dead.

A couple of days ago, he was discovered with life-threatening head injuries at the auction mart where he worked as head auctioneer, after an ‘incident with a bolt gun’. He died a few hours later. He was 45 years old.

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My head just doesn’t know what to do with this piece of information. I think of Steve just about every time I throw – particularly when I throw the weight for distance, when I can hear him laughing about my ‘little dance’ in the middle of the turn, and doing his Jedi Master spiel about ‘letting the weight go where it wants to’. I guess a lot of people all over the world will be thinking in similar terms – he told me that he went on coaching tours abroad quite often – so there must be quite a tribe of Little Dancers out there who are going to be feeling the shock today.

I didn’t know Steve well at all. I spoke to him briefly on the phone a few times, and met him only the once, as detailed in my post below titled ‘Jedi Mind Tricks and Big, Honkin’ Metal Weights’ (just scroll sedately down the page, and you’ll find it towards the bottom, posted on the 11th April). We seemed to hit it off well, he was really encouraging and kind, very down-to-earth. He spent quite a lot of the time we had figuring out what ‘learning style’ I favour (turns out I learn by being shown something, then talking myself through the process… sounds about right!). He showed me a lot in the two hours we had, and I was really looking forward to doing more training with him when he had the time.

And now we’re out of time. Steve, for whatever reason, is gone. I’ll continue to think of him every time I throw. I’ll continue to hear his voice in my head when I’m in the middle of the turn, telling me to commit to the spin, forget about the trig, focus on letting the weight go where it wants to go. I teased him about all that stuff, called him ‘Yoda’ and ‘the Jedi Master’, but even in the one session we had, he taught me stuff I wouldn’t have known otherwise, and I’m so grateful for that.

So today, yes, I’m sad. Just writing all this down has brought me to tears. But I’m going to keep on training, and I’m going to do my level best to make that weight fly this summer. It knows where it wants to go; the Jedi Master told me so.

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14 thoughts on “Shocking News

  1. This is sad news indeed. We in Tokyo remember Steve and all of his positive energy and expertise. He will be missed and our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.

  2. I’m so sorry. He sounds like an awesome guy and will live on through the example and life-lessons, passed along and cherished, by family, storytellers and good friends like you.

    • I’m truly more of a storyteller than a friend, since I barely knew the guy, but it’s so sad when you meet someone and there’s that ‘friendship spark’, and you’re really looking forward to getting to know them better, and then suddenly they’re gone. Spend an hour in the rain today trying to avoid doing the Little Dance and remembering Steve’s extraordinary strength and grace. And height! It doesn’t show on the photos I posted of him, but he was really tall. Apparently his brother Bruce is even taller. Seems daft to miss someone I only met the once, but I do. Thanks for commenting. The Games go on.

  3. Honor Steven Aitkin…perhaps the best all-around Highland Games and Track & Field Athlete that Scotland has produced in the last 30 years by training hard and settling for nothing but your very best. You don’t have to “throw big”. You just have to be your very best. THAT would make him proud and happy, I am sure.

    Every single tribute I have read about him has spoken over and over again about what a great guy he was…. about how he always had a smile and a joke and warm words of encouragement for everybody. It didn’t matter if you were the world champion or you were some duffer, Steven Aitkin treated you like an equal, and had *No* “attitude”. I know that his training mates, like Craig Sinclair…and friends more his era like Francis Brebner and Alistair Gunn, are completely gutted by this.

    I think you were lucky to get to meet him, even if it was just one training session. Honor the man, honor yourself. Take what the Jedi Master taught you, and work it. Make the weights fly, this summer.

    Alan

  4. I missed this sad addition to your blog. I know that feeling only too well, the one of the passing of a friend-that-never-will-be, with two such funerals in the last month. A sort of feeling that you have no right to feel as bereft as you do because you didn’t really know them that well, but feeling totally robbed of the chance to do so as well as struck by the waste of a life cut short.
    Good to be able to do something to honour what he gave to you in those two short hours.

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