Thursday, October 11, 2007

Tough day for Louisiana baseball

Sad news out of Ruston as earlier this morning former Louisiana Tech baseball coach Pat "Gravy" Patterson killed himself and his wife, who was suffering from Alzheimer's.

I had the chance to talk to Patterson several times in the course of the last couple of years and his loss will be wide-ranging.

He took Tech to baseball heights it hasn't seen since. He remained an icon in state baseball circles since his retirement.

However, he also dealt with something almost no one overcomes -- Alzheimer's.

I watched the disease take away my maternal grandmother's mind and, in turn, some of the sanity of the people who took care of her.

Patterson told The Times' Teddy Allen a couple of weeks ago he never understood how "it's harder on the caregiver than the person with the disease" until the disease afflicted his wife.

I saw it first-hand and I pray I never have to see it again. Given the way Major League Baseball has become a huge fundraising arm for both breast and prostate cancer research, it would be nice if MLB -- or any of the other major sports -- took some time to promote research to eradicate Alzheimer's and the lives it affects.


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