January 21, 2010

A Spartan Feature: Nick Brady

YORK, PA — It’s 5:45 a.m.

The sun comes up in about an hour, and the majority of students at York College of Pennsylvania are still asleep on this rainy, cold September morning.

Not Nick Brady (Hanover, Pa./Delone Catholic), senior captain of the men’s basketball team and criminal justice major. He and some of his teammates are on the track, getting ready to do some wind sprints.

In this, there is nothing new. Brady’s work ethic in the summer and pre-season is the standard for the entire basketball team.

“This last summer, I would get up and lift[weights] in the am., get around 500- to- 600 shots in the afternoon, then hit the weight room again.” Brady said.

These are some things you might easily believe, or perhaps even know about the senior guard. What you might not know is what happened on March 7, 2009.

On that evening, Nick was hanging out with some of his friends when his brother Jason, 18, called him from home, Hanover, Pa., to say that mom had been taken to the hospital because she had trouble breathing.

“Should I come home?” Brady asked.

“No, she is okay.” Jason replied.

Thirty minutes later, Nick got the call from his father, Tony Brady.

“Nick, come home…your mother passed away.”

For the previous ten months, Nick’s mother, Lori Brady, had been suffering from scleroderma - an autoimmune disease, which affects the skin and blood flow with one of the complications being possible heart failure. Nick’s mother suffered a cardiac arrest while she was at Hanover Hospital.

“I threw my phone and it shattered," Brady recalled. "The sensation I felt was indescribable. Moms and sons are always close, but my mom was my best friend, too. It goes beyond what you would think. We would talk sometimes five times a day. I didn’t care what people thought… she was my best friend.” 

The last time Lori saw Nick play was at the end of February at the University of Mary Washington. In fitting fashion, Nick scored his 1,000th career point that night.

Nick now wears a black band on his wrist, in remembrance of his mother, only removing it on gameday - per basketball regulations. Inscribed on it is a cross followed by, “1/4/1959. Lori Brady. 3/7/2009.” He also has written the word, “mom” on the outside part of his shoes which he taps, before he is introduced on the court.

“Nick has grown in all facets of his life in all five years he has been here," Spartan head coach Jeff Gamber said, "and losing his mom was difficult, but he handled it wonderfully. She was a special lady, and the whole team got to know her.”

Lori Brady was a mother of two and a secretary for Utz Quality foods for almost 25 years. In the last 5 years, she came to almost every game in which that her two sons played.

“It makes you realize that every day is special," Brady said, "and when you lose something, you tend to vent in other areas. Mine was basketball. It’s a release…a soothing and safe place for me. I can’t count the number of times I would start thinking about it and go and shoot free throws.”                            

Most people have role models or heroes in their lives. These people are sometimes sports, figures, historians, ministers or people that have done something impactful for that person. Nick Brady got to live with his hero for the first 21 years of his life.

“I would want Nick to honor her in everything he does," Gamber said, "not by trying to win basketball games but something more worthy of her. By being a good dad, husband and person in the community.”

“I want to show her love," Brady said of his mom, "and I want to know that if someone asked her fifteen years from now, ‘Are you proud of Nick?’ She would say, ‘Yes.’ ”

 

Feature submitted by Wid Lyman - York College men's basketball senior guard and sports information correspondent.

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