You could never buy a round with Pistol Pete in the house.
Peter Cedik was killed on Labor Day in a single vehicle motorcycle accident at about 11:15 in Langley. For those of you who didn’t know Pete, he was the young, tall, bony center midfielder for Slovan FC back when they were winning the FVSL Premier league & Pakenham Cup Championships. At only 26, he died too young. As one of his friends put it, he had the world by the balls.
I’m not writing this story to make any false claims or to try and bring attention to myself…I didn’t know Pete well; I’d only met him about five times. I guess I’m writing this story because the whole experience has left me with an empty pit in my stomach, and an overwhelming feeling of sadness for some friends, and for the families of two lost children.
I knew Pete through the Vadina brothers, Dan, Rob, and Rick. I grew up with Rick, and I count him as one of my three closest friends…more like a brother, really. A girl Rick had been dating, Debbie Hutchinson, was with Peter on the motorbike. She didn’t make it either. We could all tell that Rick was starting to really like this girl. When your family is hurting, you lend a helping hand- which is why I opted to attend Saturday’s funeral service at the Slovak Church in New West. Rick has been by my side through both the best and worst days of my life, so paying my respects while supporting him was an easy decision.
Peter and Rick had become very good friends over the last year. Both were newfound bachelors, and they were regulars at some of the local nightspots. This is where I met Pete- at the Foggy Dew, watching a hockey game. Naturally, my first order of business after learning Pete was a Slovan boy was to take the piss out of Marian Hossa, and all other Slovak players. A six-hour “discussion” on the differences between Canadian and Slovak hockey ensued. During this, I got the distinct impression that although this guy was passionate about his country, and about hockey, we could have been talking about extreme chess and the conversation would have been just as engaging. That’s the lasting impression Pete left on me: it didn’t matter who you were, he’d treat you like an old friend the first time he met you. On top of this, you couldn’t buy a pint with this guy around. He was as genuine every other time I ran into him. First class.
On top of being a great guy, he was also faultlessly loyal to his parents and sisters. He worked hard, played hard, and gave back. This was clearly in evidence at his service. The church couldn’t hold all of the people who came to pay their respects. The funeral itself, as all funerals are, was a torture test in emotions. The first hour was filled with prayer spoken in Slovak, but then came the eulogies. The first speaker up was a former teammate…very moving. Floodgates everywhere. I couldn’t help but begin to understand the charisma this young man had, and the love felt for him throughout the community. I held up well, though. After all, I’d only met Pete a few times, and didn’t know him all that well on a personal level.
Then his sisters took the podium.
One of his sisters described her older brother as her “protector, confidant, teacher, and best friend”. I started to think of my two young children, and how their lives would be ripped apart if either of them lost the other. It wasn’t long after this that I was starring at the ceiling, desperately trying to remember the most intricate details of the 1993 World Series.
Life can be cruel. Peter and Debbie both made terrible choices Monday night. Really, it was a tragedy of errors. To climb on a motorcycle, without helmets, after having a few beers…horrible. Their friends pleaded, even begged them, to not go for the ride. If they were to go, at least they could wear the lids. Rick and another friend, Scott, left the Fort Pub at this point, in anger. Rick had his lecture for Debbie all worked out, but he never got the opportunity to give it.
These two people- young, vibrant, full of life and love- died far too early because of poor judgment. One can only hope that their loss will somehow be another’s gain. We’ve all made dumb choices after having too many beers. We may have even made dumber choices…I know I have. Today I thank God that he didn’t chose me to be the example, and I ask for help in teaching my kids to make better decisions when they find themselves in similar situations later in life. In all honesty, though, it will take a pretty strong argument to help me see that this loss of lives has a purpose. I don’t see this as fate; I see it as a wrong turn on the way to fate.
I called Ricky today, on the way out to Chilliwack to play in a game with our reserve team. I figured he wouldn’t mind getting away from things for a day. After all, Debbie’s funeral is tomorrow. “I’m just heading out the door now to meet a girl for coffee. Thanks anyhow.”
Who could he possibly be meeting for coffee today? “Oh, there was this girl at the funeral yesterday, and she came with us to the Foggy dew after the burial, and we talked for a bit.”
I couldn’t help but laugh. How suiting is it that Rick gets hooked up with an, apparently, very nice looking single girl at Pete’s funeral? He laughed too. “You know, he probably is smiling about that one. Pete had been trying to hook me up with her for some time now…”
RIP Pistol Pete.