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A Tremendous Loss

Me playing with Thomas in one of his last shows.
Today I awoke to unimaginable news.  Thomas George, one of my fellow ComedySportz players and friends, died in his sleep last night.  Thomas was just a little bit younger than me.  I played in his last ComedySportz show on Friday night.  We were supposed to play together last night as well.  He never showed up at the theater. 

I am shocked and sad. 

Although I have mentioned ComedySportz (CSZ) a few times on my blog, I have never really talked about the impact it has had on my life in just one short year.  Roger and I stumbled upon CSZ through a Richmond Mom fundraiser.  We were invited by Kate Hall to participate as "guest performers" in November 2011.  We had such a good time with the two-day event, we decided to audition for the major league troupe last January.  

I had no idea that we would make it into the troupe.  We really went to the auditions on a lark.  For those of you still out of the loop, ComedySportz is competitive, short-form improvisational comedy.  Our shows resemble the TV show Whose Line is it Anyway with Drew Carey & Co.  While the shows are fun, the lessons learned through improvisation give you so much more.  You have to think on your feet, support your fellow teammates, get out of your head, and open up the creative core of your brain.  It's hard work and I love it!

Through CSZ, I have found a new hobby but I also found a new family. The members of the troupe come from all types of backgrounds. We have bankers, actors, teachers, musicians, computer geeks, medical technicians, and people who work in sales as members of our tightly knit community.  We support one another in every endeavor.  The CSZ folks have become super-duper cheerleaders of CJ's Thumbs Up Foundation and the support that I get at shows or weekly rehearsals has gotten me through some stressful and difficult weeks this past year. 

I met Thomas about three months after joining CSZ. He had recently returned as an active player after being on "hiatus".  We didn't automatically hit it off.  He was brash and self-assured. I don't think he could have a conversation without cursing.  This honestly didn't bother me but we did have a mini-smackdown one evening after he casually dropped the R-word in the middle of a feedback session after a show.  There are just a few places where I draw the line. 

Even that slight mishap didn't keep us from becoming friends.  Thomas always approached things, both at CSZ and in life, with honesty and positivity.  I learned so much from him as a teacher and I always enjoyed playing with him on the stage. He was also frequently amused by the fact that I got many of his random pop culture references. 

Thomas George, you were a great human being.  I am so glad CSZ gave me the opportunity to know you.  You will be missed.  

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