It's been a very long and sad day for most everyone in Central Illinois today. Waking up to the news that a small plane crashed a couple miles short of the airport in the dense fog and the suspense till the names of the 7 people killed in the crash was enough to wear one down very early. Then hearing the names about lunch time, just seemed to take all the wind from the sail. The dreary day just became gloom.
I sit back of the baseline for most every Illinois State Redbirds men's basketball game. I have been for 15 years. Knowing that most don't really like a camera in their face, I normally just do my job while keeping my distance. People see me, I see them, we probably even recognize each other away from the arena. It was no different with Torrey and Aaron. I don't remember even getting the chance to say hello to Torrey. I probably did to Aaron as he would have moved around the arena more. I don't really recall.
With Torrey, one always knew when he was near the court. He dressed impeccably, and usually had at least one player with him. The respect for him just transcended the commotion. Today, I saw a couple images of him where he was actually leaning into the court shouting something. I didn't see that a lot. He appeared to always be calm, cool and gentlemanly. I'll miss seeing him on the court.
Aaron, worked behind the scenes. Much of what you see around ISU Athletics is due in part to his greatness at his job. He energized the community and the businesses and got everyone behind the 'Birds. I'll recognize more of those efforts now that he is gone, wondering always which may not have happened had he not been on the job.
Torrey Ward photos - Images by Alan Look