Editorial

Amidst the sorrow of Mr Mason’s passing

Saturday, April 22, 2017    

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Death is never easy. It is even more difficult to accept when the person who passes is young and not ailing. The suddenness of the individual’s departure from among us mortals can, in some instances, shatter people’s resolve to go on living. In addition, there are pastors who will tell you that your inclination to question God is understandable — especially in cases where the departed is regarded by all as a really good and decent person.

That is probably the posture of people in the local and international athletics fraternity today as they reflect on the tragedy that took young Mr Germaine Mason from this life early Thursday morning.

Mr Mason lost his life after the motorcycle he was driving crashed on the Norman Manley Highway in Kingston about 4:20 am. His sudden death triggered an outpouring of grief as this was a young man — just 34 years old — full of life and who, we expect, had plans to improve his and his family’s lives after retiring from track and field recently.

The pain felt by many was probably best expressed by his friend, fellow athlete and Wolmerian, Mr Michael Frater in an


Instagram

post. “I don’t think reality is upon me yet, getting the phone call nobody wants to get,” Mr Frater wrote. “Almost 25 years now we have been making waves on the earth together. You conquered the world, my friend, you were among the very best. We have done things people in this world many have dreamed of and you were still making moves. Many times your back was against the wall and you were able to overcome. Words can’t describe the hurt and pain I am feeling now but I have to accept that you are in a better place with the Almighty, my brother.”

Other athletes expressed shock and sorrow on social media at Mr Mason’s passing, many of them describing him as a wonderful human being. It mattered not that he had switched allegiance from Jamaica to Britain in 2006, because outside of the healthy competitive nature of sports they were all friends.

Indeed, we remember well that when Mr Mason matched his personal best of 2.34 metres to win the high jump silver medal wearing British colours at the Beijing Olympics, the Jamaica contingent was delighted and cheered him on. That was a demonstration of the strong bond of friendship he maintained with Jamaica.

Amidst the grief that has engulfed the country because of his death, there is one message of caution that we hope will resonate with all Jamaicans, and indeed other people across the world who operate motor vehicles, especially motorcycles.

“I wish he and other youngsters would understand the danger of those motorcycles, that they are not professional riders and it is difficult to control them... at high speed,” MVP Track Club coach Mr Stephen Francis, who coached and was very close to Mr Mason, told this newspaper on Thursday.

That is advice worth heeding.

Our condolence to Mr Mason’s family, friends and the athletics community.

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