It has been one year since Jared Lorenzen’s passing, 365 days since the Hefty Lefty left us. Sometimes it feels like it has been much longer, given all we’ve experienced since last summer; other times it feels like yesterday. And there are still times I can’t believe it.
Looking back on this day last year, July 3, 2019, my heart breaks again as I remember the feeling of disbelief upon learning the news. He had been in the hospital for several days, but I couldn’t accept that Jared Lorenzen was gone at 38 years young. I still struggle with it at times.
But I also look back on the days that followed and smile. It was a celebration of his life and career, non-stop tributes to a fan favorite. The Twitter feed was nothing but Lorenzen highlights and stories from his friends and old teammates, or even fans telling their own stories about where they were when he was slinging it over his shoulder in Commonwealth Stadium.
His old UK coach (one of the many) Hal Mumme told some hilarious stories for the first time. KSBar and Grille played his best games on a loop. There was a Jared Lorenzen race car in a NASCAR race. UK dedicated an entire home football game (against Arkansas, the perfect opponent) to him. And the memorial fund in his name raised more money for his two kids than anyone ever imagined. It sucks that it takes losing someone to all come together like that, but it showed how much he was adored. Jared brought a lot of joy to a lot of people’s lives, more than he’d ever know.
I miss Jared. We all miss Jared. People who never met Jared, miss Jared. I thought about him often throughout the football season last fall, whether it was just missing him during those two hours on the pregame show or wondering what he’d think of the team. Lynn Bowden at quarterback? He’d lose his mind. Then, like the rest of us, he would’ve been all in on the running quarterback who might throw twice a game. I can hear Jared’s laughter as Bowden scores yet another touchdown against Louisville.
And what I wouldn’t give to get his thoughts about what’s happening in 2020. In a country divided by politics and protests in the middle of a global pandemic, Jared would’ve had some strong thoughts about murder hornets. Saharan dust? SpaceX? I wish we could do a KSR Football Podcast right now.
One year. One year since we lost a legend.