|Birth: ||Apr. 30, 1988|
|Death: ||Aug. 1, 2006|
obituary BUFFALO NEWS
4 August 2006
Suddenly August 1, 2006; son of Robert J. and Candace (Hoyt) Bredenberg; brother of Laura 'Katie' Bredenberg; grandson of Arline (late Jack) Hoyt and the late Jack (late Marie) Bredenberg; also survived by aunts, uncles and cousins. Family will be present to receive friends Friday only 4-8 PM at the PERNA-PELLEGRINO FUNERAL HOME, 1306 Hertel Ave. (near Colvin Ave.) Relatives and friends are asked to gather at St. Rose of Lima Church for a Mass of Christian Burial celebrated Saturday at 10:00 AM. Interment Forest Lawn Cemetery. Contributions, in Eric's memory, may be made to St. Rose of Lima School for a future scholarship fund or to the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center.
Eulogy to Eric Bredenberg
(Eric was a star of the team who tragically lost his
life to Lake Erie on August 1, 2006. This Eulogy was
delivered by his Coach at services held on August 5, 2006 at St Rose of Lima.)
The natural course of human affairs sees children burying parents, and players eulogizing coaches, and not the other way around, but here I stand unnaturally to celebrate Eric's life.
My name is Alan Bozer. I have known Eric for seven good years, on and off the soccer field. My son Alex was his teammate on the Delaware Azzurri for those seven years, and Alex's dad was Eric's coach. That is how I know Eric.
Seven years with a boy growing to manhood can be a long time. In this case, it was much of a lifetime. For the man-child who was Eric, I watched the tween became a teen, the teen became a man. I will tell you some stories of Eric as he struggled and accepted that he would fall or be knocked down, but how he always got up. He was indomitable.
Eric's passions in life that I will speak of are soccer, boarding and photography.
When Eric came to the team at age 12, his father Bob came over to me and said that Eric could run all day and he was as fast as they came. I took him at his word.
I mention this because this was how my relationship with Eric began. I watched him run, and shoot for seven years. We shared innumerable meals, picnics, parties and life.
For the soccer fans among you, I will tell you that Eric had the hardest shot east of the Mississippi. The ball coming from his right foot would shoot with no spin at all, dipping with the air currents on hot summer days in Delaware Park, leaving the opposing goalie to wonder whether he should risk his body to stop it. Of amazement to me was how Eric, finding that other teams were concentrating on the gun that was his right foot, trained his left to do the same. This happened around age 15, and it was something he did because of a fierce competitive nature burning within him. It will not surprise you to learn that Eric was the highest scoring player by far in his team's history.
If I talk of Eric as a team player, I hope you will not think that I do this as rote which I am required to recite. His team had camaraderie, it is true, and Eric was in the middle of it. Eric played with boys from Europe, Asia, Africa and South America. When I first saw Eric on the field and the way the other boys reacted to his joy of being there. I quickly decided that Eric, with a strong shot at 12 and running all day, should be the center midfield. I wanted him to be the focus. I christened him "General" and he took on the responsibility of the position.
Oftentimes I remember shouting to him on the field to get his shot off. "I'm trying coach," he would respond from the field while chasing down an opponent. And then soon would come the shot, sometimes in, sometimes not.
When he was 15 he was moved to forward because he was still running and his shot was even better. There was joy in watching him. On the green field in Delaware Park, to which he rode that bike of his, I see the oaks surrounding the field, the ring road with city residents running, the golf course behind us and payer sin green for the Delaware Azzurri team. Now he takes the ball on the right, now he directs it forward, now one, two, three long dribbles, the ball seeming to escape errantly but his speed chasing it down. Eric is fast, but he runs funny. Arms flail instead of pump. The defender is pushed slightly away and behind, perhaps with the help of an elbow imperceptible to the referee. Now an opening and then, BOOM the shot. And with the ball in the net there is Alex, and Looch, and Joseph, Ozzie and Andrew, Kamal, FA, Asad, Ewin and Andrea, and his other teammates surrounding him. But most of all there is Eric's smile as he jogs back to the center. And then, he is ready to play again.
Eric put a significant dent in my pocket book as I had to take the whole team out to ice cream for every header scored – not to mention all the hats I had to buy him for his hat tricks. Hats he liked to wear askew on his head as you all know.
Eric's team did well, but then we had two losing seasons. Losing teams lose players, but I emphasized to him and others that a man is not measured in life by how many times he is knocked down, but by how many times he gets back up. This, I think, is one of the places where Eric possibly learned the virtue of perseverance and loyalty and how the tortoise beat the hare in the fable. Eric and his teammates got up and came back with many championships the last few years.
I ask myself from time to time, why Eric stayed with the team. Here are the virtues that I think formed the camaraderie of which Eric was at the heart, and these were Eric's values:
First, the positive was emphasized. When something went wrong on the field, Eric didn't shout negatively at the offending teammate. It was more along the lines of, "Dude, wake up! Let's get this together."
If you ask those who watched Eric on the field with the Azzurri, they will tell you that he played fiercely, but usually with a smile on his face. He played for the joy of it. You will hear his neighbors tell you that if a ball was on the lawn, there was Eric to pick it up, and when the younger kids were kicking it around, here came Eric to show them how, always smiling.
Second, dedication to self-improvement. If Eric didn't do well, then he worked harder, but still had fun. In other words, perseverance. Sometimes it takes work to do well. Eric knew it.
And then, loyalty to teammates, and to the team. Eric understood that while he may have a commitment to the team, the team also made a commitment to him. I think that is why Eric returned each year. He was loyal to his friends even if things did not always go well.
Opposing players have commented about Eric on the field, how he made them laugh even as he competed against them.
I did not hit the slopes with Eric on his board, but my son Alex saw him regularly at Holiday Valley on those high school evenings. Eric was the king of the boarders, everyone was awed by how he flipped and twisted and controlled the slope. Anyone who has any awareness of the sport knows that boarders wear those funny clothes in part because they are constantly falling as they improve their art. So it doesn't surprise me that Eric became the king out there. His virtue was his art of self-improvement, just as ye did with that left foot. He was willing to fall in order to learn. The trick is that he always got up.
Isn't that something that we Americans praise as a high virtue. We have the right to succeed but only because we have the right to fail. Eric always succeeded after he fell.
The waters of Lake Erie claimed my friend a few short days ago. I am going to remember Eric in the waters of Chautauqua. Two weeks ago today, Eric, Bob, Candace and Katie were at our cottage. Out we went on the boat as we had a wake-board and Eric wanted to try it. Into the water he went, and though having no training in that difficult sport, he tried. Some of you have seen the video. The boat pulled him out of the water and down he went. We tried again, and down he went. And then he got up and you can watch him, jumping the wake like he'd done it many times before. He was a natural athlete. If you watch the tape you will hear the laughter and the squeals of joy of surmounting another challenge. Eric was always succeeding.
Eric developed a passion for photography. Anyone knowing Eric will know that he brought the same intensity to that as he did for anything else. This was his future. As I have heard his teacher say, remember us Eric when you are famous. There is no doubt in my mind that Eric was poised to do wonderful, creative things, that he would work hard at his craft.
A week ago, Eric took my niece for a tour of Buffalo. It was not the Buffalo you and I are necessarily acquainted with.
Father, you mentioned how Eric saw beauty in the decaying side of Buffalo, He took my niece to rusting relics and haunted boats. Eric saw beauty there in old wasting Buffalo. I hope that he had a loyalty to Buffalo. I think he did. Did his future hold a return here, unlike so many other of our young, to help us get back up, the Queen City of the Great Lakes? I for one think so.
On June 18, Eric played his last game for us. Most players were going off to college next year. The core of guys who were there all along were also there that day. Eric showed up with his game and his passion, as I took it for granted that he would. I took it for granted that he would always be there as he has for the last seven years. You know, he came out immediately and scored on a header. I figure that I owe him an ice cream. I guess I always will, but also much more than that because Eric gave me seven years of passion and heart, smiles and laughter, and camaraderie.
He was the boy and then the man who always got up. Only the strong, hidden undercurrents of Lake Erie could keep Eric down.
Eric, rest in peace.
Forest Lawn Cemetery
New York, USA
Created by: James
Record added: Sep 08, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 116754534
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