Monday, January 19, 2009

Remembering Nick Scandone

Nick Scandone was a regular guy. He fished, he surfed, he smoked, he sailed. On Sunday, January 18th, just over two weeks after he died (Jan. 2), and four months after winning the Gold Medal at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Qingdao, China, he was remembered. A memorial service at his home club, Balboa Yacht Club, attracted a standing room only crowd, and an unwavering appreciation for what he accomplished.

While his battle with ALS is over, the lessons he taught us will live on. There were tears on this day, but also a tremendous amount of hope. Nick was torn apart by a disease, but focused on a goal, and refused to die until that goal was achieved. Nick won his race, and he did so with the respect of all those who were witness. The rest of us will live on for now, seeking what is important to us, and using its power to keep us alive too. We should never forget Nick and what he taught us.


Perfect weather for the outdoor setting.




An impressive line-up of BYC Staff Commodores.


Commodore Alan Andrews begins the service with a tribute to Nick and his accomplishments.


The guests move inside to hear from several keynote speakers.


Nick's crew in the Paralympic Games, Maureen McKinnon-Tucker, looks on.





An awesome slide show of Nick from his childhood through to his Paralympic Games experience.


Nick's wife, Mary-Kate (center, in white), watches the slide show with his medal around her neck.

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3 Comments:

At 9:25 AM, Anonymous Mary Longpre said...

Saying Good-bye to Nick was a wonderful coming together of friends and family. Perfect warm and sunny weather blessed all that attended, some 400.
Nick will never be forgotten for his strength and determination and love to others.
Craig it was good to see you there and appreciated.
Mary Longpre

 
At 10:12 AM, Blogger John said...

Just saw this today....it looks likes it was a wonderful service. So sorry to have missed it but our thoughts and prayers are with Mary-Kate and family. Nick will always be remembered!

John and Diane Fradkin
s/v Deerfoot (currently in La Cruz, Mexico)

 
At 2:46 PM, Anonymous David Cook said...

Nick was an amazing sailor and an even more amazing person. I first heard of Nick after he won the Open 2.4 mR Worlds beating out over 100 sailors including some very talented AB (able-bodies) like Peter Norlin (designer of the Norlin 2.4 mR as well as at least one Americas Cup boat too).

When Nick made the decision to move from the 2.4 mR to the SKUD18, he was definitely the talk of the class. As being part of one of the top teams in the class at that time, my legs were shaking in my boots (a figure of speech, my legs actually don't move other than wiggling my toes). Nick and I had a close personal bond. We were two of the few international disabled sailors who had/have a progressive neurological disease. I have Spinal Muscular Atrophy, similar but different to ALS where the nerves that control my muscles are fading away and have been so for most or probably all of my life (I'm 51 now). Enough about me.

For a joke and to compare my limited arm strength to Nick's, we had an arm-wrestling match during the last event held in St. Petersburg, Fl. during Nick's Road to Gold in Beijing. Nick kicked my butt but I knew his deterioration would be much faster than mine. I wished Nick the best in Beijing and followed his and Maureen's progress with great interest. Nick having his life challenges, Maureen, hers (that another exciting story on its own). Not to take absolutely anything away from Nick's legacy, there are a whole bunch more exciting and touching stories like Nick's in disabled sailing.

One challenge that us 'gimps' have is self-pity (why me?). When I begin to feel sad about my challenges, I just have to remind myself about Nick and another special sailor/friend in my life. Her name is Ame Barnbrook from Australia.

Ame is a talented young woman who was born with no arms and one tiny leg with 3 even tinier toes. Ame plays the trumpet, sails and races single-handedly, helms a SKUD 18, but most of all, like Nick, she has an incredible positive attitude. Nick, Ame and a lot of other sailor 'gimps' can be best described as inspirations and live life to its fullest. We couldn't do what we do without the support of so many talented and out-of-the-box-thinkers such as Nick's friend Mike Pinckney, and Chris Mitchell and Gene Hinkel! One of the lessons I've learnt in life is it's a balance between sharing more than you receive compared to looking after number one. In short, follow your dreams, accept and deal with your challenges, in your own special way, help others as much and often as you can, and most of all, live life to its fullest! Thank you Nick and Ame!

David Cook, Victoria, BC, Canada

 

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