Quantum Leaps


April 5, 2021- It was the joy of a lifetime to see the University of Arizona Women’s Basketball team advance to the NCAA Finals, with a solid victory over a formidable University of Connecticut team. It was disappointing to see the Wildcats lose, by one point, to Stanford University, two days later-yet heartening that both teams gave 100%, and there was, as it were, no subsequent animosity or rancor, from either side. The NCAA itself took a self-imposed black eye from its earlier refusal to acknowledge Arizona’s presence in its own tournament, but I see that more as part of the growing pains that are part of college sports’, and society’s, maturing attitude towards women’s sports.

The health, stamina and well-being of both male and female human beings is one of the most basic interests of a fully-functioning society. I was one of the most uncoordinated of children and young adults, but have always recognized the role that sports, especially team sports, have in the maintenance of good physical and emotional health, as well as their role in building character. Youth, high school and college level athletics, at their best, provide the most reliable vehicle for character-building. When adult egos and remuneration get involved, that character-building can be tarnished-and granted, I have seen “Youth Leagues” turn into mechanisms for burnout of otherwise promising young athletes.

I fully expect that the quantum leaps that we have seen, in the progress of sports for girls and women, will long continue-and have the effect of elevating all athletic endeavours-for boys and men, and co-educational teams, as well. Congratulations again to the University of Arizona Wildcats, and to the Stanford Cardinal, for jobs well done. (Here’s to you, also, Baylor Bears.)

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 13: Her Burning Light


June 13, 2020-

This morning, our city said adios, to one of its brightest lights. I only met Brooklyn, a few times, when I substituted in Mile High Middle School (2011 -12) and in Prescott High School (2013-16). There was no mistaking the bouncy, free-spirited, but respectful, studious and reverent presence, who seemed to ever be in the forefront of whatever was going on- whether it was a bit of dancing in the hallway or being one of the first to participate in a class discussion. She loved being a teenager, being part of a large and community-activist family, and being a Christian.

Brooklyn Ashley Mengarelli was equally at home leading a group at her parents’ summer camp, playing with her infant nephew or goofing around with her classmates (doing a puppy imitation, with downturned “paws” and pretending to pant, rings a bell). She had a serious side, though, attending to her school work-and to the mild, but persistent, epilepsy that shadowed her, from the time she was eight. The latter kept her from driving a car. It would eventually take her life. It did not stop her from living that life to the full.

I believe, no, I KNOW that it was her faith that kept Brooklyn going on. There was not a community event, especially Frontier Days, Acker Music Night, and the annual Rodeo, that went without her presence. So, it was also true, was her devotion to the vibrant congregation, of which she was a member. This morning, the city she loved returned that love.

She will shine down on this community that she so loved, and on the young women who took her into their hearts, at the University of Arizona, these past four years. That’s the silver lining to losing our cherished ones. They’re never really gone. See you again, Brookie.