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Senior captain Ian Supra (2014)

Ian Supra 1995 - 2015
11/24/2015 4:32:00 PM

The news of Ian Supra's passing has affected everyone in the Dr. Phillips community and beyond. He was an extraordinary young man that was so gifted athletically, academically and personally that to list his accolades and achievements would never come close to how much he has impacted us emotionally. He brought all of us together; showed us the power of community, love and hope; made us stop and appreciate all that is good in the world; and how to be strong for each other.  I think I can speak for many when I say I will never understand why he was taken from us so soon and all the love I have for him is compounded by a selfish anger I know I will never overcome. We grieve for his parents, Jackie and Chris, who courageously welcomed all of us into their lives when it would have been understandable to request privacy. Nearly everyday I write. Yet today, I simply can't find the right words because I wasn't sure they exist. And if they do, I'm not strong enough to find them. But Natalie Nickson, our Swimming coach and a great friend to Ian, has:

There is an emptiness in my heart knowing Ian is gone.  Words can't even begin to describe the man he was and the man he surely would have become.  As I sit here grieving, wondering why you were taken away, all I can think is everyone must know who you really were.  The profound impact you made not just on me, but on a program, a school and a community.  I will make sure you are celebrated for all the incredible things you did and not remembered for the way you left this world.  In the end, you did not lose the battle with cancer.  Even as we hugged just a few days ago, you had won.  You never gave up.

As a coach we can wait a lifetime for an athlete like Ian.  The one who not only makes his teammates and the team better instantly, but the one who changes you as a coach and human being.  Ian was that person and so much more.  From the moment he dove in the pool, my life and everyone around him was never the same.  He worked so hard with no complaints.  He pushed his teammates to work just as hard.  They won when people thought they couldn't.  He was a perpetual light that never dimmed.  Even when he got sick he handled it with all the grace, humor and poise everyone had come to expect from him.  He was more concerned about how everyone else was handling it, than he was about himself.  I remember after a grueling 12 hour surgery in Pittsburgh, when I finally got to see him, one of the first things he said to me was, "Thank you being so tough on me all those years.  It makes all of this seem easy."  And we smiled and laughed.

That's who Ian was.  A charismatic leader, who if given the chance would have changed the world.  Instead he changed a community and touched the lives of everyone he met.  So while a piece of my heart has gone with him forever, I am also at peace knowing I was privileged enough to have him in my life.  I will never stop sharing stories about #13 Ian Supra.  Until the very end he fought with all the strength in his heart.  It's only fitting that even in death he will live on in our hearts- always and forever.

From all of us in the Dr. Phillips family...rest in peace, Ian. You will always be remembered.

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