Noah was 12 years old and we were just at the start of the pandemic in 2020. He had been fighting a cold for a couple of weeks. He had the occasional fever but it broke, so we thought he was getting better. We saw his pediatrician twice over 3 days and they kept telling us that it was just a virus and that he needed fluids, Tylenol and rest. Then suddenly, on February 26, 2020, Noah went home to be with our Lord.
Noah was the ultimate sports fan. He loved watching and talking about all kinds of sports. Noah could watch sporting events all day, everyday. He would fight with his sister that "it's football season" or that "the Angels are on" so that he could watch. Noah was most faithful to the San Francisco 49ers, USC Trojans, Ohio State (football only), and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. But Noah's fandom wasn't just the typical superficial fan who wore their team's jersey. Noah was so faithful, that he refused to wear certain colors to school that would represent his hated rivals (e.g. UCLA or Dodger blue). We tried to attend as many sporting events as possible... Some of our fondest memories was going to the Rose Bowl game vs. Penn State and the 49ers playing the Rams. We had plans to travel to Notre Dame and watch spring training in 2020. Just never got a chance to go.
Noah loved video games. What teenage boy doesn't? Noah loved to go on line and play XBox with his friends. I could hear him yelling "You bot!" or some other random taunt as we continued to remind him to "be nice" and "lower your voice." He was also definitely a sore loser.
Noah loved to play ball. Baseball and Football were his two favorite sports to play and he played baseball year round. Noah dreamed of putting on the pads to play football but we made him wait. I promised him that he would get to play starting the Summer of 2020. He loved being a catcher and hitting... and we have to admit that he was talented. Noah was never the biggest or the strongest on the field... but he was definitely the most passionate and he wanted to always be better. His greatest disappointment was when he could not be perfect.
One example was in 2019. Noah placed first in the Hit, Pitch and Run for both the district and region. He then got a chance to go compete at Dodgers Stadium where he competed and again, came in 1st place. Unfortunately, he was not one of the top 3 scores in the nation so he didn't have a chance to advance. We were so proud of him... but he kept saying how terrible he was and that he should have been better. I didn't know how to console him other than to tell him how proud we were. It didn't matter that he had "won"... to him, not being the best was simply unacceptable.
Noah hated the spotlight. As an introvert, Noah hated attention. Even if he hit a homerun or pitched a great game, he couldn't take compliments well and even asked that we ask parents to not yell out his name or nickname (Power of the Chang) from the stands. Noah never wanted to lead a cheer or "show up" any of his teammates. He just wanted to play and loved watching his teammates succeed and do well.
Noah had such a fun loving spirit. Sure... he was the typical teenage boy who could make you want to pull out your hair. He would dread doing his homework or he would argue with his sister. But he was gentle and sweet - always challenging us to care for others. He loved to laugh and constantly giggled throughout the day. Noah was simply our joy every single day.