Utah CB Coach Sharrieff Shah Shares Powerful Message At Aaron Lowe’s Service
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – University of Utah cornerbacks coach Sharrieff Shah spoke at Aaron Lowe’s memorial service and gave a powerful message to the congregation.
The entire Utah football program flew down to Mesquite, Texas to attend the service for Aaron Lowe, who was tragically shot and killed at a house party in Sugarhouse in the early morning of Sunday, September 26.
The University of Utah Chaplain, along with head coach Kyle Whittingham and athletic director Mark Harlan and university president Taylor Randall spoke at the service. When they opened the floor to anyone in the congregation to go speak, Shah was the first one to talk to the friends and family that gathered to remember Aaron Lowe.
“I want you to understand just a few things,” Shah started his speech. “Aaron was a lot to a lot of people. He was many things for a lot of people. He was a son, was a brother, a nephew, a cousin. But to us he was a tremendous teammate. Kindness flowed through Aaron’s veins, like the ocean it overflowed endlessly, he loved for the sake of loving and for nothing else, he just loved you. I just want you guys to understand three things that I personally took from Aaron from being with him, I can tell you the first one was that he was infectiously optimistic, not just positive, but infectiously optimistic, and I want you to understand, so many people have referenced his smile. How can you not be warmed by it? How can you not be moved by it? But there was a concrete situation in which I needed to see Aaron’s optimism. I needed to know that it was real and that he could really sustain. See, Aaron was a Division I athlete, and many of us see them every Saturday, but you don’t know what it takes to become one. It’s hard. Aaron had to meet certain academic obligations. His optimism was so profound that the teacher said ‘we believe in you, you can get it done. And he did. He got it done. He got it done over and over and over again.”
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“You Still Love Me Though, Don’t You Coach?”
Coach Shah talked about the second thing that he wanted to share about his time with Aaron Lowe.
“I’m gonna tell you the second thing that made an indelible mark in my heart,” added Shah. “When Aaron and I would have tough conversations about on the field, off the field, he would always end with, ‘you still love me, though, don’t you coach?’ Every time. That resonated with me. Because I would say what I was gonna say, and I’m not the nicest person sometimes, I’m an equal opportunity person that’s gonna give it to everybody the same way every day. That’s who I am. Sometimes that rubs people the wrong way, but it is what it is. Because you’re playing football at the highest level. So let’s get some, right? Don’t cry about it. Let’s go get it. So when Aaron would say that to me, it became real in my spirit. Because it became something that I understood. What we have to do is an obligation is to still love those that we claim we love, even when they don’t meet our expectations, even when they fall short. Then we have to still love them and we have to tell them over and over and over and over again. We still love you. We have to work to build them up over and over and over again. Yes, I still love you. Even though you didn’t get your foot in the ground on that back pedal but I still love you. Even though you missed that tackle, I still love you. Even though you ran the wrong way and I don’t know why you did that, I still love you and I’m not gonna stop loving you.”
Be 22% Better
One of the messages that has come out of the tragic passing of Aaron Lowe was to be 22% better every day. That has resonated with the Utah football program and it started with coach Shah.
“He said, ‘coach, I’ll be better.’ That was a response when it was a life situation, a football situation,” stated Shah. “I said, ‘I believe you, but how will you do it? How are you gonna be better?’ Coach, I’m just gonna give a little bit more. I didn’t understand what that meant until I see him. What he began to do for me is that he defined what it meant. I’ll be better. So when Aaron passed away, we all met as a football team on Sunday. The only thing that I could say to the team that resonated my spirit was that what our obligation is, is that we need to be not just better, be 22% more better. 22% better. I need you to be 22% better. That may not be a whole lot. Maybe it’s just if you said to your mother in the week, ‘Mom, I love you.’ I said it 10 times, say it two more. Just two more. Because that was Aaron’s number. The number before him was Ty’s number. That number is not going to be anybody else’s number. I bear witness in front of everybody right now. I will be 22% more better in all of the capacities that God has placed me in. That’s Aaron to me. That was Aaron to all of his brothers that sat here, every single coach that loved him. That was Aaron. So as I sit down I just want you to remember, please live as Aaron lived. Be infectiously optimistic, not just positive, be infectiously optimistic. Remind the folks that you love, ‘I still love you.’ Remind them of that.”
Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for KSLSports.com, Co-Host of Faith, Family and Football podcast with Clark Phillips III and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASports.