It never gets any easier.
The older you get, the more people you know pass away, and it hurts just as bad every time.
I was jolted this past weekend, learning of the death of Jeff May of Pleasanton, a youth sports coach in this town and someone that helped shape many a young man through athletics.
Jeff passed away on Saturday at the age of 57 from a massive heart attack. It was a stunning event for me as I routinely saw Jeff around town and we always had a good chat each year during the horse races at the Alameda County Fair. He always had a smile on his face and a kind word to say about everyone.
Jeff was my son Josh's lacrosse coach from fourth grade through his freshman year in high school. It may sound like a cliche, but in Jeff's case it's true -- all the kids who played for Jeff were better people for having played for him.
He was a lacrosse coach when the sport was just starting in town. There were very few qualified people to coach lacrosse at that point, but Jeff took it on and stayed with the kids throughout their youth careers.
By the time the boys hit seventh grade, the team was one of the elite teams in Northern California, advancing all the way to the NorCal finals. That season was also the first time a team from Pleasanton beat a team from the powerhouse Danville Scorpion club.
We had four players from the team -- my son included -- advance on to play at the national level, and it was Jeff's influence that got them to love the game of lacrosse.
It was natural for Jeff to move with the kids to high school to ease with the transition into the high school world.
I know that Jeff worked with other youth sports in town and while Josh didn't play for him in those sports, I would be willing to bet those parents would say the same thing -- their kids were better people for having played for Jeff.
We lost another good one when Jeff passed, but his legacy will live on in the kids that played for him. A memorial service to honor Jeff is set for this Saturday at 11 a.m. at Valley Community Church in Pleasanton, at 4455 Del Valle Pkwy.
Thank you, Jeff, for all you did, not just for my son, but for countless others as well. You will be missed.
Foothill advanced to the NorCal semifinals before falling last weekend. It marked the Falcons' fourth straight year of making NorCal, and it was the team's deepest run since 2006.
In the semifinals, the Falcons fell 25-15, 20-25, 23-25, 20-25 to perennial NorCal power and defending state champion Archbishop Mitty on Saturday.
Highlights came from Grayce Olson with 16 kills, 16 service points and 9 digs. Naya Williamson had 13 kills and 9 digs, with Haley Roundtree adding 11 kills and 3 blocks. Emily Haskell had 26 digs for the Falcons.
The Falcons had advanced to the semifinals two days earlier, beating Rocklin 26-24, 31-29, 25-27, 29-27.
Olson had 24 kills, 13 digs, 11 service points to lead the way. Ishana Ram had 51 assists and 12 service points, with Haskell adding 22 digs and 11 service points. Roundtree added 16 kills and 8 blocks.
The Falcons finished the year 30-7 and won the East Bay Athletic League title.
The Dons were also eliminated by Mitty, falling on Nov. 8 by a score of 25-17, 22-25, 25-18 and 25-18.
The Dons had double-double performances from seniors Mahlia Jackson and Helen Xiao. Jackson had 11 kills and 15 digs. Xiao had 36 assists and 16 digs.
Offensive leaders for Amador Valley, other than Jackson, were seniors Kaitlyn McFall (8 kills), Sarah Rieble (11 kills) and Rachel Malmorse (6 kills).
The Dons' defensive leaders were junior middle Phoebe Monette (5 blocks) and sophomore libero Jillian Wittenauer (17 digs).
The Dons finished the season with a record of 25-7, making 2018 one of their best campaigns in the past decade.