My Friend Bobby

by Isaac Sanders

The first time I met Bobby, it was the summer of 2005. I had just moved to Columbus from Detroit. I was starting my first year of full-contact Football. Bobby was one of the boys who had played last year, and was always cracking a joke, or screwing around. However, on the field, he was driven and strong. We were next to each other, as we were both offensive line. Bobby and I were that tallest guys on the team. We would crush the other team’s defensive lines, and when we were on defense, we would treat the other team’s offensive line the same. After football was over that year, I invited over a couple of my friends that I had made in school and friends on my football team, including Bobby. We had a poker party, and a lot of fun.

After that, we did not see each other until middle school football. Bobby was going to the other middle school in the area, so we were lining up against each other during the game between the two. They had the bigger and stronger team, and they beat us. In 8th grade, that changed, as they combined sports for the two teams. Bobby and I were a team again. We were not always close friends in middle school, in fact, I think there were times we were not friends. Bobby always enjoyed being popular, and that was okay with me. I would be there if he needed a friend.

At a council-wide Scouting event, Bobby and one of his friends had found our Troop and started talking with us. By the end of the weekend, he had decided to come to our Troop. The next few years in Scouting we had a great time, with Bobby being the senior boy leader for a year.

In high school, Bobby and I were both part of the same experiemental program, call the International Business Academy. While it sounds prestigious, it was not that well thought out. We were still not the best of friends then. After that year, I left the IBA to spend more time at Linworth, the alternative program in my district. Bobby and I did not talk for awhile. There was a point that I became more involved with one of the youth groups in my area, and Bobby and I saw each other there.

Sometime during the Freshman year of high school, Bobby decided to quit Boy Scouts. His reason was that he wanted to do more sports, and boy scouts were getting in the way of that. The Troop was sad to have him go, but we continued on.

In our Senior year, Bobby and I had found that we go to the same gym. We started working out together.

I really enjoyed working out with Bobby, cause we would always enjoy each other’s company. He realized that his grades weren’t going to help him get into colleges, and he had talked about going into the Military. I didn’t like it, but if that was something that he wanted, then he should do it.

I left for Walkabout, and I had not seen Bobby since it started.

On Friday, March 9, 2012, Bobby took his life.

I lost my best friend. I don’t know why. I don’t know what could have been done.

I can still see his smile, I can still hear his laugh. I know I will never get to see Bobby again in this life. I loved Bobby like a brother.

According to the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation:

  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death for Ohioans
  • 1,402 Ohioans died by suicide in 2008
  • 90% of suicide completions are by persons with an undiagnosed or under treated mental illness and/or substance use disorder
  • People with serious mental illness die 25 years earlier than the general population
  • Ohio’s average annual medical cost for suicide is $3,879,185 and work loss costs are $921,766,767 per year (CDC)
  • Youth Suicides, ages 15-24, have increased by 18% since 2001
  • Female Youth suicides have increased by 36% since 2001
  • Male youth suicides have increased by 9% since 2001
  • On average youth suicides account for approximately 14% of Ohio Suicides
  • For youth ages 15-24 suicide is the third leading cause of death

I can’t believe that my friend is gone. I ask that everyone who reads this do something. Please share this story or your own. Send prayers to Bobby’s family.

As long as we have memories, we’ll never say goodbye. - Seven Ranges Alma Mater

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