Record’s memory continues to shine
Conant star lives on five years after tragic crash
Two days after Christmas always tugs on my emotional strings.
It has ever since that day five years ago.
Much like this year, Dec. 27, 2007 was a snowy Thursday. I was planning on going to Keene State for the annual boys basketball holiday tournament, but I had no idea that what I would encounter that night would go way beyond the game of basketball.
When I arrived at Keene State for the second day of the tournament, I heard the news from Conant girls basketball coach Nick Hill that a few players from the boys team had been in a car accident that afternoon. He told me Steve Record and MacKenzie Griffin, both juniors, were involved, but had no further details.
A little while later, I went back to check in with Hill to see if he had any updated news. I thought worst case scenario, some broken bones and the players would have to miss some time in Conant’s quest to win a third straight championship. But what I was told is something no one is prepared to hear. Record was gone. He had died as a result of his injuries. He was just 16.
The rest of the night is a bit of a blur. I remember talking to former Conant boys coach Arthur Giovannangeli, seeing a lot of Conant students and parents hugging and crying in the hallways outside of the gym and making the short drive home still in complete shock of what had just happened.
Just a few days later, I waited in line for hours at Cournoyer Funeral Home to pay my respects. I had gotten to know Record a little bit from the many times I had interviewed him, including after he hit two free throws in the 2007 Class M title game with 11 seconds left to seal the victory. I really didn’t know his family, but I just felt it was the right thing to do. He deserved to have a special tribute because he was truly a special kid.
In the weeks following, I got a much better idea of what kind of person he was away from athletics. I had the opportunity to sit down with his parents, Ron and Lisa, and just listen as they told the stories that made up Stephen’s brief life. As I worked on my tribute story, I was fortunate enough to hear a lot of wonderful things about him through his many friends. He truly touched so many people.
And while it has been a little over five years since he passed, Stephen’s memory lives strong. There has been so much done to keep his name and spirit alive. There are the annual scholarships given out to a graduating male and female from Conant, a golf tournament and Hoops for Steve, a free throw shooting fundraiser where participants shoot 21 shots in honor of Record’s basketball number.
Record would be turning 22 this March and likely entering his final semester of college. I would like to think that he’d be a senior captain on the school’s basketball team, likely doing the little things to make all of his teammates better. Because that was the kind of person and athlete he was.
Record would always put everyone else’s best interests ahead of his. He was a born leader destined for good things.
It’s just so sad we never got to see it play out.