Sometime it takes death to teach us our best lessons about life.
So it is now, in all likelihood, for those close to the Iona College athletic program and many others around the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
The legendary and longtime Iona trainer J.B. Buono, who served in that capacity for 50 years before becoming the school's "trainer emeritus" afterwards, passed away earlier this week.
Funeral services were held on Thursday morning, the first day of the MAAC tournament, for Buono, who was 97 years old.
Rob Kennedy, who does color commentary for the conference's television package, spoke about Buono at the tournament's awards ceremony Thursday at the Times Union Center.
Kennedy, serving as the event's "master of ceremonies," reminded a room full of college basketball athletes that their athletic career is an enjoyable yet fleeting period of their lives.
He reminded them to enjoy the journey moreso than the ultimate destination, and to treasure the relationships formed along the way.
Kennedy spoke eloquently about how those friendships and relationships with those they meet while in college will always remain more memorable later in life than what their respective teams accomplished.
Buono, Kennedy, pointed out, was someone whose longtime presence around the Iona community typified the type of relationships the athletes should appreciate
This humble blogger can't admit to knowing Buono, at least not beyond a brief hello when paths crossed annually at Iona.
But those who knew him well told tales of his dedication to Iona athletes that reflected his love for them.
Some great recollections of Buono's life can be found elsewhere, and here are two links...
Vin Parise, a former assistant coach whose stop included Iona, now produces a well-done and entertaining college basketball blog which includes some tributes of Buono.
That blog can be found at www.vphoops.com
The Iona athletic website, too, has information about Buono and many comments and tributes about the program's memorable trainer.
That website is www.icgaels.com