By Thomas Rank, Guest Contributor
Why do I ride? On a warm day in the summer of 2015, I arrived at my first cross country practice. The team always met at the local park shelter before practice where the summer breeze would often compliment the harmonious symphony of chatter and laughter between teammates. Suddenly, the talking would cease and our coach, who in his own right is a great man and leader, would begin his speech about the daily agenda. While listening, I couldn’t help but notice Ben Harmon have a smile across his face. He raised his hand and said, “Coach your mouth does more running than your legs!” Silence. Followed by an uproar of laughter and a slight smile from our coach. This was my first experience with Ben and that’s when I knew I’d become friends with him. That was Ben though, continually thinking, always bringing people together, all with a touch of mischief. Over the years, Ben and I became close friends; whether it be playing basketball with friends at a local elementary school, or messing around during practice, we always managed to have fun. Ben was renowned for his antics and stunts, running across the football field during a televised game or leading us to climb over a frozen river instead of running. All of these things had one thing in common, they brought people together. This was before the cancer, the fight, and the unimaginable struggles he had to endure. Throughout his fight, he continued to bring our community together with his positivity and optimistic perspective on life during those difficult times. At one point he told his loved ones, “I’m glad that I’m going through this and none of you.” He was conscientious, wise, and special. Most importantly, he was my friend.
What does it mean to be a friend? A friend is simply someone that cares about you and will listen and support you unconditionally. While I never had the privilege to meet Tyler Trent, he is still my friend. I know he would support me and sincerely care about our mission. Together, both Ben and Tyler represented something greater in us. Hope. Hope is a powerful thing, it can get us out of bed in the morning or spark positive change in the world. Their legacy is a testament to hope, as both family and friends continue to live through Ben and Tyler’s legacy for a brighter future. Take some time to look at the world around us, you will always find someone that’s trying to help.
I ride for those special people that always wanted the best for you, someone that always cared about you beyond measure. I ride for a future where cancer doesn’t rob our loved ones of a long prosperous life. I ride to cherish those happy memories, those memories we all share with someone that takes us away from this world for a little bit. I hope to see my friends again. I hope to laugh and smile with him on those warm summer days before practice. I hope.
“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” – Michael Jordan (Ben’s favorite athlete)
A special thanks to the Trent and Harmon families and everyone else that is supporting this great cause. Without you all none of this would be possible. #Benstrong #TylerStrong #LiveLikeBen #LiveLikeTyler
In memory of Ben and Trent, Thomas is undertaking the “Strive to End Sarcoma Charity Ride.” The mission of the ride is to spread awareness of their stories while continuing to spread hope to anyone that’s facing difficult obstacles. The ride will begin on March 8, 2019, at 8:00 AM starting in Avon Town Hall Park and ending at Indiana Dunes State Park. For more information or to make a donation, visit www.curesarcoma.org/event/strive-to-end-sarcoma-charity-ride.