I've been thinking a lot about teammates lately. Maybe it has something to do with last week’s story on Dakota Dean and Tyler Henderson (“Dean and Henderson, teammates for life,” March 27). Or perhaps it has something to do with having recently attended a reunion of former Gulf Breeze athletes. I'm sure the main reason is I find myself needing the strength of teammates as my dad's health is rapidly declining and he's not expected to be with us too much longer.


I've been thinking a lot about teammates lately. Maybe it has something to do with last week’s story on Dakota Dean and Tyler Henderson (“Dean and Henderson, teammates for life,” March 27). Or perhaps it has something to do with having recently attended a reunion of former Gulf Breeze athletes.



I'm sure the main reason is I find myself needing the strength of teammates as my dad's health is rapidly declining and he's not expected to be with us too much longer.



Last week, I received phone calls from two of the guys I played ball with in high school. Paul Davidson and Ken Hardy are not only former teammates, but also Christian brothers. They called to let me know they are there for me.



I've had other guys I played ball with drop me a message on Facebook offering their support and prayers.



I hope that 40 years from now, Dakota Dean, Tyler Henderson and all of the other young men and women I cover will still be close to many of the friends and teammates shaping their lives today.



I assure you that long after the games are forgotten, we still need our teammates to help us through the tough times.



Throughout this process of Dad's illness, I've realized that teammates come in many shapes and forms. We often think of teammates as the people on our sports teams, but I believe there are many kinds of teammates.



Teammates can be the people we go to church with, those we work with, or friends we've made along the way. I've also come to think of the coaches, players and fans who make up the News Bulletin’s readership as being teammates of sorts.



I'm constantly amazed and blessed by the kind words of support and prayer so many of you have offered in recent weeks as I've entered this difficult period.



Many of you have made this old Gulf Breeze Dolphin and Tennessee Volunteer feel as if I was born a part of Team Crestview, Team Baker or Team Laurel Hill.



Words can't thank each of you enough for standing in the gap with me at this time.



The 17th century British poet John Donne wrote, "No man is an island entire of itself. Each is a piece of the continent, a part of the main."



I am blessed to be joined to many wonderful teammates, past and present, who have come into my life from countless different paths and who continue to be willing to help pick me up.



Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at randyd@crestviewbulletin.com, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.