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  • Writer's pictureGerald Tindal

Day 89: Legacy

KT Man,

On Day 39, I wrote a letter to Phil and Penny Knight, as expected every year, to thank them for funding my endowed professorship. This year was different as I noted then: It was not about how their generous gift has assisted me in accomplishments, but about leaving a legacy for both of us. Leave something behind. A legacy that would allow continuance. The memory of your presence on earth with a life well lived, serving as an example how we should live; my research continued with the BRT family, an accomplished group of people inside the university, best protected with a tenure line position at the helm. Apparently it’s easier to give money than an operation.

Your legacy is secured with an endowed memorial scholarship fund, begun with our donation from selling your condo and funded by many others who have donated generously; selfless in their giving. Allowing the Sports Product Management program to bring in talented youngers: learn and begin careers in the sports industry. Push the envelope on products that assist athletic performance in all ways of life, professional and personal.

My legacy of giving back and leaving an operation, a research shop, is not as straight forward. It requires honesty, trust, and communication among the institution’s leadership. Those who make decisions. I’m trying to find all three and finding it difficult. Perhaps I’m looking in the wrong corners with blind spots that miss what is there. That it is there. Perhaps, it’s not there.

I had a dream last night, which is rare and different from lying in bed at night with my eyes wide shut and thinking of you over and over. A dream is distinguishable from the mourning of day when the reality of your death comes in again. In this dream, I was attending a celebration of life though I wasn’t sure whose life: yours or mine. I walked into a room with music and people in groups, talking and dancing. I recognized no one. I left and went into another room with just a gathering of people: no one I knew, so I left and went to the bar. Again, I saw no one I knew.

I must be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Much like you on August 14, but mine was a dream. Perhaps not.

Much like the day, the story has a beginning. Previously. The story yet to be told. I know I had promised to write something positive. Perhaps another day.

We love you and know your legacy is secure. We'll see about mine.

JT Man

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