Life Ought be Measured by the Joy Between the Beginning and the End
As I begin writing this, I can feel the emotions rising to the surface. As the sports editor of the local newspaper, I was a part of the years of commitment, success and heartbreak and I was blessed to feel every moment and relive the greatest moments of some young people’s lives.
The relationships I made during that time are precious beyond explanation, and a few lives were truly fused with my own as I cheered from behind a camera, keyboard, and social media platforms. I’ve cried alone in my car after our teams lost that final playoff game of the season, I stormed courts and fields after big wins. When the hero was raised onto the shoulders of the team, I was both the lifter and liftee. It was our story, and we shared it together, and I then shared it with our local readers and fans.
Devastating losses marked the end of an era, closed the chapter on a story filled with wins, losses, blowouts and comebacks. It was the period at the end of a story that spanned an entire lifetime up to that point.
But wins and losses are just a part of the story. It is the relationships, the journey, the adventure between the lines that truly capture the imagination because the score is just a temporary mark but the adventure never ends.
My first year as the sports editor, Brynn Frace was a senior at Atascadero High School. Her sister Brittni was a freshman. I began my journey as sports editor during the winter season, and the Frace sisters ran the pitch for AHS soccer. As spring hit, I found my favorite sport to cover — distance running.
I showed up at the 2013 Bearcat Relays at Paso Robles High School and as I crossed the all-weather track to the center of the mini-festival that is a track meet, I was floored by the scene of an Arroyo Grande runner cheering as runners from Templeton, Atascadero, and Paso Robles ran by her. There was a sense of joy for the run that was now the pervading rhythm. Athletes were no longer competing with each other, but competing with their own personal best and using each other to push themselves further along.
That spirit was evident between Brynn and Brittni Frace, that they pushed one another to be better in a way that inspired admiration. Whether it was better goofy, or better friendly, or better on the track or cross country course.
I can only imagine the joyful songs they sang as they drove back together to Chico State for the spring semester after winter break. They never made it to Chico, but they never really left us either.
Like flowers that spring up after winter, the clouds of sorrow break for beams of light and joy.
Now a year after the sisters left this Earth, their spirit lives on. Their parents, Warren and Shari Frace, continue their service to our community and honor their daughter’s memories. Warren serves as the Community Development Director for the City of Paso Robles, and Shari serves as support staff for Atascadero Fine Arts Academy.
In their spare time, they have brought honor to their girls with a 10K & Fun Run-Walk around the idyllic Santa Margarita Lake. As related from Warren and Shari time and again as they process the loss and celebrate the lives of Brynn and Brittni, instead of dwelling on the loss, they make the best of what the girls gave to the world.
The spirit of Brynn and Brittni remains a living force for their “love of nature, the outdoors and respect for the earth and one another.”
The marathon of life calls to us to reach inside and find something that keeps us running toward our own finish line, and those around us who love us also challenge us, and push us to choose who it is we will be each day as we go the distance. To get a little inspiration, join Run 4 Bitti and Brynn as a walker or a runner, or just as a fan at the finish line cheering on those
who make it across.
For more info on the upcoming Run 4 Bitti and Brynn 10K and Fun Run-Walk, go to run4bittiandbrynn.org.