Robert “Tractor” Traylor was always a big man. He was big when I met him when he was a high school junior at Detroit Murray Wright and he was a big man in death on Wednesday.
But he died way too young. Traylor was 34 when he died in his apartment in Puerto Rico. He was in the country still playing basketball and I can’t help but wonder if he’d watched his eating habits a little better would he still be with us? I don’t know the answer to that question, because a number of athletes were ticking time bombs when they died. They walked around in life with enlarged hearts and none of us knew that.
When Traylor died, one of the first phone calls I got was from trainer Melissa, who said we are going to work on more heart-related exercises when I return to training. I am currently recovering from another softball injury, but I will get into that another day.
Traylor’s death reminds us that even if you can run up and down a floor for hours, you gotta watch yourself. Traylor needed to be big to be a force in basketball. But he could have done the same thing with a more toned body.
Bottom line is, he was a good dude who loved Murray Wright High School, the University of Michigan and hoops. It is a great loss and many will miss him.
I know a bunch of other people who will be missed if they die.
Those people are you.
(Foster can be reached at Terry.Foster@detnew.com or 313-222-1494. Follow him on twitter at TerryFoster971.)