It's been a tough last couple weeks for the longtime Pleasanton crowd as we lost one of our own when Tom Northam, a 1981 graduate of Amador Valley, died as result of injuries suffered in a traffic collision in Roseville.
Whenever something like this happens, it always puts my faith to a test. How is it that there are pieces of garbage who live long lives when some really good people are gone well before their time.
The crash happened on Feb. 18 when Tom was driving to Little League practice, and he passed away on March 1.
The accident has really impacted people who grew up in the 1970s and '80s in Pleasanton. Back in those days, everyone in the town was like family and those feelings have stayed with everyone.
The question now coming from everyone -- why? If you can figure that out, please let me know because I have yet to completely process losing one of my best friends from high school back in 1980.
Eric Nostrand was one of Tom's oldest and closest friends. I have been lucky enough to have a friendship with Eric, and he was texting me regularly from the hospital with updates.
One of the early texts from Eric said, "This is the toughest thing I have ever had to confront."
I know exactly what he was feeling, but have no answer, no sage advice, nothing. I think my answer was simply -- "I know, it sucks."
The outpouring of prayers and love for Tom and his family has been amazing and has continued. Eric organized a GoFundMe page to help Tom's wife Stephanie and his kids with expenses.
Eric set a goal of $10,000, and that has been blown out the water, as more than 300 people have given more than $41,000 so far.
But see, that's what made Pleasanton a great town to grow up in -- the sense of family everyone has for each other. That's why when a tragedy happens to one of our own, everyone comes together. In the days following the accident, there were numerous communication lines open and everyone was kept abreast of the situation.
It's a tribute to what people truly felt about Tom Northam.
An all-league basketball and baseball player at Amador, Tom was one of those guys who people gravitated toward. I graduated from high school two years before Tom, but I had the pleasure of playing on the same basketball team with him at the old Schoeber's Athletic Club after we both graduated from Chico State.
Tom had spent over 20 years in the air traffic control industry, ending up in the Sacramento area and settling in Granite Bay. He had four kids -- two boys and two girls -- with the oldest out of college and the youngest a sophomore in high school.
For those interested in contributing to the GoFundMe page, go to www.gofundme.com/tomnortham.
In local spring sports, the Amador Valley girls team opened the season with a 13-8 win over Acalanes, paced by the play of returning seniors Sadie Grozier, Emily Hickey and Bella Freschi. Freshman Bella Mayo also played well for the Dons.
In their second game last week, the Dons held on for a thrilling 6-5 win over Carondelet. The game came down to the final seconds. With Carondelet pressing, freshman goalie Claire Lemelin deflected a shot off her shin with four seconds left to save the win.
Hickey, Freschi, Marley Diligent and Alexis Bayani turned in very strong defensive games for Amador.
Foothill varsity has come out of the gate swinging, going 2-0-1 in its first three games, outscoring their opponents 24-8.
Seniors Griffin Chin, Logan Caton, Anthony Steller Harter and Adam Jue have set the pace thus far. Brett Hansen, Jake Simons and James Kroll have also had great starts for the Falcons.
Editor's note: Dennis Miller is a contributing sports writer for the Pleasanton Weekly. To contact Miller or submit local high school sports scores, game highlights and photographs for his weekly Pleasanton Preps column, email him at email@example.com.