Taylor Dickson would have been a senior on the 2012 Golden Hurricane squad, but he lost his life in a tragic shooting four years ago. Taylor, along family members Andy Dickson, Maritza Dickson, and Jillian Salazar, lost their lives, but left quite a memory for the people around them.
Last week, the Wren seniors honored Dickson by retiring his jersey in a special ceremony before a final home game.
“When you have special occasions like senior night, he would have been a part of that,” said Wren High Baseball Coach Randy Thompson, who knew and coached Dickson. “It brings back some of the memories, and some of the pain. We felt like it was the least we could do to honor his family and remember him. He will always be a part of Wren High School and the baseball program.”
Thompson says Dickson was a part of a team that was close throughout their childhoods.
“This was such a close group,” said Thompson. “This was someone they grew up playing with through little league and high school. To all of the sudden have something tragic like that happen, and to go through it as a team (was hard).”
The sudden loss rattled a group of young kids, and Thompson says it was something he had never experienced.
“It was very difficult because, not only was Taylor’s loss hard, but his dad Andy coached a lot of our kids and a lot of the kids knew (Taylor’s) brother so it made it very difficult,” said Thompson. “We had a lot of team meetings and went through counseling. I brought in some local pastors and tried to cope with what happened.”
Thompson says it has been a tough journey for some of Dickson’s teammates, but the team had to learn how to face this difficult situation.
“I don’t know that we will ever get over it, but we are able to cope with it now,” said Thompson. “It was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through as a coach. I’m pretty skilled at teaching the game of baseball, but when it comes to dealing with something like that it’s not something you’re really prepared for.”
Thompson says the senior celebration was a good way for his team to show the Dickson family how much their teammate meant to them.
“I think it just helped (the family) to understand what Taylor was to us,” said Thompson. “I just think it let them see that side of Taylor that maybe they weren’t included in. If something like that happened to one of my kids it would sure make me feel good to know that one of my daughters was that meaningful to a community.”
“He is not forgotten and he will always be a part of it,” he said.