Life can be cruel.
It can be hard and unfair.
It can take the shiniest moment and tarnish it for what feels like an eternity.
Alec Kornet was a good kid, a friend to many, a brother, and a son. He was an incredible hockey player who breathed his last breath playing the sport he loved surrounded by the people he cherished.
He was only 17 with a whole life set before him filled with dreams and goals.
We will never know what Alec would have become, what goals he would have achieved, or how he would have shaped this world. What we do know is the legacy he left behind. Alec Kornet changed a lot of people in his lifetime and even more through his death.
Not even a week after Kornet's death, his brother (Michael) and the Brush squad had to take on Lake Catholic in OHSAA tournament play. Teams from all over the league came out in support of the Kornet family and Brush High School. They lined the glass holding signs which read “4Alec” and fervently cheered as Brush took the ice for warmups.
Kent State Arena went crazy when Alec Kornet was announced as the starting center for Brush. Goalie, Michael Kornet proudly held his brother's jersey high for all to see.
After starting lineups were announced, Lake Catholic skated towards Brush for a moment of silence. There they stood as one team, one family to honor their fallen brother.
They allowed Alec Kornet one final face-off for his team.
No one touched the puck for that was Alec's job; win faceoffs.
Shortly after the first faceoff, Lake Catholic scored their first goal of the night. Not a sound was heard. There was no cheering, no celebrating just reverent silence.
Moments later, Lake Catholic scored goal number two. Still no cheers or celebration from the team and their fans.
After Lake Catholic scored their third goal a voice rose from the crowd “It's ok Mike! You've got this!”
Goal four; silence.
Goal five; silence.
After Lake Catholic's sixth goal the crowd began to chant, “Mikey! Mikey!”
The cheers for Mike continued after Lake Catholic's seventh goal of the night.
Goal eight; silence.
Goal nine; silence.
Goal ten; silence.
Lake Catholic had just won an important tournament game. Yet, there was no cheering, no celebrating, no smiles. Instead, they picked Brush players up off the ice and consoled them as they mourned their teammate.
Instead of saluting their fans, as is common practice, Lake Catholic turned towards the Brush bench and saluted.
Noted sportswriter, Heywood Hale Broun, once wrote “Anybody who teaches a skill, which coaches do, is admirable. But sport doesn't build character. Character is built pretty much by the time you're six or seven. Sports reveals character. Sports heightens your perceptions. Let that be enough.”
Lake Catholic revealed their true character on Saturday night. They showed vasts amount of maturity during a very serious moment in their life. Instead of celebrating every goal like it was Mardi Gras, Lake Catholic stood with Brush in reverent solidarity.
They get it.
We could all learn from the compassion and kindness Lake Catholic showed Brush High School and the Kornet family.