|Josh Burgess was a
different kind of Lancer Water Polo player. As dedicated as any
who ever played for me, Josh's great contributions came in his light
hearted approach to life in general. Josh had a manner and style
that brightened any room (or pool deck,) the moment he arrived.
I think the thing that I will always remember most about Josh is the way his friends surrounded him. He was the center of so many different lives and he was a stable force in those lives as well.
Josh played water polo for Sunny Hills during some of our darkest years. The streak had ended, the 1994 season, (his Junior year,) saw us win only two league games, and not only did we not win the league for the first time 24 years, but we didn't make the playoffs either. The season that I knew I would someday have to face, (not winning league,) was that 1994 season. I had told every team before that the same thing as we started our season, "you guys don't have to be the team that loses. I most likely will be the coach of the team that finally loses, but you guys don't have to be on it." So, one year, we lost. You know what? The morning after we lost the game that put the league championship out of reach for us we had a practice scheduled for 5:30 AM. I cannot recall ever wanting to miss a workout more than I wanted to miss that workout. I felt broken, and a drift. The first player to walk on the pool deck that morning was Josh Burgess. "Morning Coach," (we have always said simply "morning" because a "good morning" would be one where we were still sleeping at 5:30 AM.) Josh never would have understood what that simple "Morning Coach," meant to me, but I am saying it now. We lost and life went on. The earthquakes, fire an brimstone that I expected never happened. But Josh Burgess in his light hearted way, with one simple "Morning Coach," suddenly made everything right in the world. Thank You Josh.
We lost Josh in 2003 when the air plane he was in, (he was a flight instructor in North Carolina,) crashed.