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.
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.