Column: The fragile gift of life

by Tyler Aragao

It was a normal day in a normal town.

Falmouth is a small beach town located in Cape Cod. For nine months of the year it is quiet, but during the summer months it is one of the most popular areas in the Cape. Falmouth was just another town, but that all changed on December 22nd 2016.

James Lavin and Owen Higgins were driving back from hockey practice when at 6:45 p.m Lavin’s car veered off the road and slammed into a tree. Lavin was killed instantly while Higgins was transported to a local hospital and succumbed to his injuries the following day.

The passing of two bright, talented and well-liked individuals rocked Falmouth and the state of Massachusetts. Hundreds of schools from around the state offered condolences. High school hockey teams from all corners of the state hung up jerseys behind their respective benches representing Lavin and Higgins’ numbers. Even the New England Patriots and Boston Bruins offered support.

As young adults we feel as if nothing can stop us or get in our way when in reality it is the opposite. We are not immune to death and that’s what makes the death of someone young so tragic. Lavin and Higgins were both 17  when they passed. When looking at the big picture of life 17 years is merely just the start of the story and sadly Lavin and Higgins never got to further their story.

While they’re no longer here physically the impact the two boys have had is immeasurable. While tragedy brings sadness and depression it also brings love, support and camaraderie.

Bitter cape hockey rivalries put animosity aside and the towns of Bourne, Sandwich and others came together to lend a hand in grief. Hundreds of students and athletes lined sidewalks at both boys funeral and when Falmouth took the ice for their first game after the tragedy the arena was packed with people from not just Falmouth but the state itself.

Tragedy shows us how fragile life can be but it also shows us how precious it can be too. However, not everything that comes out of tragedy is negative. Tragedy can show us tremendous amounts of compassion and support from others.

The town of Falmouth will be forever impacted. The tragedy of that night affected and hurt so many but at the same time the support that followed strengthened and uplifted them.



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