From Michael Tripp

Greenville, North Carolina

Thank you for the wonderful tournament and the "Celebration of Life".  As a long time traveling Dad, I was thoroughly taken by the story of Brittany, the community's response and the hospitality.

I have never written to Rick Reilly at Sports Illustrated, but I have read him for years.  Brittany's story and "her message" will live on as long as we tell it.  I hope he has an opportunity to print it.  Be on the look out for any correspondence from Sports Illustrated.

Dear Mr. Reilly,

Like many sports fans, I have followed with interest your columns and your recent book. I especially enjoy your human interest stories including "Rudy with a Bullet". I can't tell you what a blessing it is to hear the flip side of athletic pursuit "at all cost" espoused by so many in our "material world". I would like to share my past three hours as a testament to all that is good in athletics and as a tribute to young star extinguished too early by the random violence which is occurring with alarming frequency.  The day began as usual for this dad of a traveling soccer goalie, just as it had on 100 or more previous journeys. The destination carefully described on a map, pointed to a small town in Eastern North Carolina.  The morning welcomed both the first day of spring and an opportunity to observe my 16 year old daughter begin her junior year of varsity girls soccer. Just as in the previous 10 years, there was much anticipation of the events to come.  However, upon approaching the field all resemblance of the past was lost in what I can only describe as the "celebration of a life". The pageantry of day left know doubt this would not be just another road trip. Brightly colored banners welcomed us to the Brittany Memorial Tournament, along with the Mayor, police escorts and brand new multiplex soccer facility. The small town of Wilson, NC was, as we say, "putting on the Ritz.” So who was Brittany, we inquired.The details of Brittany's life and her untimely demise left me with overwhelming sense of sorrow. At the same time, I was watching my own daughter playing soccer and counting my blessings, relieved that it was not her. Forgive my selfishness. (Pause)But this is a story of Celebration and honor to Sportsmanship which by all accounts is what this child's short life emulated. Girls’ soccer teams from every corner of NC converged on this small town to honor the spirit of Brittany. Her life and the celebration thereof, played out on the fields of her favorite sport, left us all in AWE and with a renewed hope that something good came from something so tragic. The trophies of the day celebrated not the numerical winner but an even higher value of Sportsmanship during the heat of competition.  Needless to say there were no losers in Wilson on this day. Socrates talked about the (lack of) value in the unexamined life. My life (AND MANY OTHERS, I SUSPECT) is better because of a young girl I never met.  Bravo to Brittany and her Spirit, which will live on as long as her story is told!I know you are busy and have many important stories but I would appreciate your considering sharing Brittany with your readers as an Antidote to all the Prima Donnas who capture far too much press. We need some REAL Heroes!I have attached a web page which can direct you to the people who knew her during life. 

Thank you for your consideration.

Celebrate Life!!!, Michael Tripp