Darian Mar’s father is once again bringing the sport his late son loved to the community for drop-in games.
Buck Mar, Darian’s father, has organized summer drop-in lacrosse sessions, bringing with him lacrosse equipment in a trailer that he bought with some of the money raised by the community for his family after the tragic death of his son.
The 13-year-old Darian was killed during a collision with an Econoline van in June 2017 while he was riding his bike home from school. His death left St. Albert and the local lacrosse community heartbroken as Darian had a passion for lacrosse that he shared with his father, who is a local lacrosse coach.
“I just wanted to do something to remember him by and maybe have it serve some good as well – especially to give back to a lacrosse community that treated us so well and responded so well to our tragedy,” Mar said.
It was humbling to see how much the loss of Darian resonated with the community, Mar added, and his family is grateful for all the support they have received in the past year.
“It was nice to know that this little family that didn’t feel like anything special was something that resonated with so many people,” Mar said. “Some days you wonder if you’re worthy of all these things that these people have done for you.”
Running the drop-in sessions in his son’s memory is part of the healing process, although as a parent, Mar noted that they will never really be OK again.
“People talk about healing, but I don’t know if you ever really heal from this; you just learn how to deal with it. It’s like a nagging injury.
“Life in general is a little bit harder. Life is a little bit more grey than it was before.”
Players of all ages and skill types come out to the drop-in sessions and many of them are Darian’s friends. Mar said that they remember Darian at the drop-in sessions but it is no different than any other time when they talk about him.
“We as a family talk about him all the time and we don’t make talking about Darian a stigma. These drop-in lacrosse sessions are no different than any other time he would come up in a conversation.
“We just don’t want talking about him or remembering him something that was uncomfortable.”
Mar remembers his son as a happy-go-lucky kid who loved the outdoors and spending time with his friends and family. Darian always wanted to make other people feel good.
“He was the chatter box. I know for the first little while we would sit at the dinner table and it was quiet. It was weird, surreal, at how much conversation that he would initiate.”
This past season Mar coached lacrosse players in Darian’s age group and kids who played with him growing up. The experience was a bit difficult.
“Seeing all those parents but not having him there was difficult, but it was just another way of keeping him in our thoughts and in our lives,” Mar said.
Outside of the lacrosse community, Darian continues to be remembered as a kind student who loved the outdoors.
Darian’s school, Sir George Simpson, created an award in his name, students raised money to purchase a memorial table and they planted a tree in his memory. Some of his friends made a trip to Shunda Mountain near Nordegg with the Mar family to mount a memorial plaque on the one-year anniversary of his passing.
“We were so thankful that Darian was part of such an amazing school staff and school community,” Mark said.
Mar started the drop-in lacrosse sessions last summer and now that the lacrosse season has wrapped up, he is kicking them off again. He held his first drop-in session in St. Albert on Friday night, and plans to try to make it out to all of the clubs in the Greater Edmonton Lacrosse Council League.
His son would be proud.
To keep track of where Mar will be next, you can follow him on Facebook at Darian’s Drop In Lacrosse.