I was trying to remember when I first met Jeremy Cotham. It was either when I was substitute teaching for my friend Vanessa Curry at UT Tyler or it may have been at a Patriot basketball or softball game.
He was a journalism major who was truly a "sports nut."
Jeremy not only knew all about the Patriots, his Longhorns and Lobos, but every other sport. His enthusiasm was infectious.
Plus, he was an old-school journalist, having learned the basics of reporting from Vanessa. He then combined that with his writing skills.
I am reminiscing today because Jeremy was taken from us far too soon on Thursday after his six-year battle with cancer.
It is sad day when we lose someone, but it is doubly tough with a youngster in his 20s with so much potential ahead.
But Jeremy did not lose his battle. He fought cancer.
Before he was diagnosed with leukemia, I really got to know Jeremy when we traveled to Montclair, New Jersey, to cover the UT Tyler softball team, which was competing in the 2009 NCAA Division III College World Series.
Jeremy covered the Patriots with gusto along with his friend and photographer Clay Ihlo and newspaper advisor Vanessa. We got to see Yogi Berra and with Jeremy and his energy we tackled all the sites of the Big Apple in a matter of three days from Yankee Stadium to the Statue of Liberty.
Not long after that trip, Jeremy became ill.
He continued to cover Longview football games for our paper while going through treatments. He penned a great column on his friend and former classmate Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles.
Jeremy's father, David, said it best with this email:
"Recently as ESPN commentator, Stuart Scott, also passed away due to cancer; but before his death, last July, at the ESPY awards show, he received an award named after Jim Valvano, a former NC State coach who died of cancer in 1993 at age 47.
"In accepting the award, Scott is quoted as saying, ‘When you die from cancer that does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by HOW you live, WHY you live and in the MANNER in which you live. So, live! Fight like heck (but he used another word); and when you get too tired to fight, then lay down and rest, and let someone else fight for you!'
"So now someone else is fighting for Jeremy, and now then Jeremy really did NOT lose his battle to cancer this afternoon; but he beat cancer by ‘how' that he lived his life in the last six years since he was diagnosed with leukemia. He was an inspiration to all of us in ‘how' that he battled cancer! He was strong until the end!Never complained about his lot that life had dealt to him! He was the best son that any parents could have ever asked for, but he was taken from us way too young!"
Jeremy will be missed, but memories of him and his inspiration will continue.
Visitation is 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday at Rader Funeral home in Longview. Services are at 3 p.m. Monday at Alpine Church of Christ in Longview, with burial to follow at Rosewood Park.