Micah was a 17-year old student-athlete at Northwest Cabarrus High School. He was known as an artist, a runner, a musician, and a great friend. Micah died November 22nd at the UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill of a rare blood-clotting disorder.
I never had the pleasure of meeting Micah, but after putting together the following quotes and stories from friends, competitors, teammates, and his coach, I truly recognize importance of Micah’s life. Even if you never met him, I’m sure you will be able to come away with something that is meaningful to you as well. After reading, step back from your own life and make sure it’s headed in the right direction.
After reading the words of Micah’s friends and teammates, a number of personality traits were evident to me. Below I have listed some of these traits along with stories/comments that I hope help describe this young man, Micah Arrants. Thank you to all who contributed.
Respectful – showing appropriate deference and respect
Chase Fisher, a teammate and friend of Micah wrote, “I don’t ever remember Micah loosing his cool on anyone. I never heard him yell at anyone in anger. He was the kind of kid that didn’t have or make enemies. He treated everyone like he wanted to be treated.”
Chase and Micah had many conversations on runs. Chase said that they talked about everything and that a lot of conversations only would make sense to them. It was a special relationship for Chase. He recalls one important conversation with Micah on a run that had a great impact on his life.
“I remember a long run this summer, Micah, me, and another runner, Charles, had a conversation about life, politics, and religion. It was a great conversation because we all have different beliefs. Micah respected everything we had to say. He told me how he didn’t agree with people disliking others on the basis of their beliefs. He was nonjudgmental and I wasn’t. This conversation greatly impacted me. It was a simple two-minute conversation that totally changed the way I look at other people now. Whenever I let a person’s views or beliefs affect my perspective of them, I think of Micah, and how he looked at people, and accepted them for whoever they are.”
Matt Starr, who ran for a rival high school, AL Brown, was the first to bring the story of Micah Arrants to my attention. First off, that says a lot in itself to have a competitor see the need for a story. Matt remembered Micah and one particular moment.
“I know that Micah loved to run, encouraged his teammates every step of the way, and had ambition to run in college. After our county meet he was even kind enough to come up to me and tell me how much he was impressed with our improvement as a team. He was just everything that exemplified a good cross country runner.”
Selfless – putting other people’s needs first
Emily Nantz, a teammate and friend of Micah, wrote about how she always loved seeing Micah at school. They would run into each other every day before 4th period. She looked forward to their meeting everyday.
“He always greeted me with his amazing smile (it was the most incredible, welcoming smile in the world), something positive to say, and occasionally a hug. He never complained about school or his day and always asked how I was. Being a new runner this year, I would stress out on meet days and always be extremely nervous. Micah always had something encouraging to say and although he couldn’t always completely calm my nerves, his words were comforting and it was good to know he cared.”
Emily also remembers Micah’s final race. The conversation they had on the bus is one of the most significant conversations of her life. He was asking about her, but yet he was unbelievably sick.
“One thing I will never forget is the day Micah first started getting sick. It was one of our Saturday meets at Tanglewood and I remember his sitting close to me on the bus on the way home. I was upset over something minor and silly, and he did not feel well at all. I started talking to him, asking what was wrong, and telling him I hoped that he felt better. Then, one thing I will never forget, Micah asked about me and asked what was wrong with me. He was the most unselfish person I have ever met.”
Unique – being the only one of its kind, different from others
Micah had a unique style to himself. All the people who took time to write to me said he didn’t care too much for others thought of him. He wasn’t afraid to be himself . . . and it sounds like that was something that everyone loved about him.
One thing that set Micah apart from others was his style of clothes.
“At a pre-meet dinner, he sported a button-down shirt, running shorts, and high-top Converse.”
One of the first conversations Emily Nantz ever had with Micah was due to the black high-top Converse. “He wore them with anything and everything,” she said. The Converse were a staple in Micah’s wardrobe. Chase recalls he even wore them to warm up in once prior to a race.
“Now, a few members of the cross country team, including myself, wear black high-top Converse in honor of Micah (although we can’t pull them off as well as he could).”
Chase said it simply, “He was definitely one of a kind.”
Pleasurable – giving pleasure or enjoyment to those around you
Everyone that spoke of Micah referred to his wonderful sense of humor. It was very easy for Micah to make those around him smile or laugh.
“His own smile lit up a room. His laugh was always full of happiness”, said Chase Fisher. “Micah was a very funny person. The things he did and said were so funny, you just had to be there. On our team’s overnight trip, Micah gave most of the guys on the team Mohawks. I remember on long runs or on the bus on the way to a meet, we would make up lyrics to songs. One time on that we recorded a song on a cell phone.”
Kem Noppakunkajorn, another teammate of Micah’s, spoke about his humor.
“Usually, when you have a person with a good sense of humor, they lack the sense of focus and seriousness. However, Micah wasn’t this way. While making jokes, Micah kept his focus on what he needed to accomplish.”
Emily recalled a time when Micah joined the girl’s circle at a team gathering. “It wasn’t long before he started talking and making jokes. He had us all laughing.”
Micah brought pleasure to those around him. His humor, smile, laugh, and willingness to step out of his comfort zone, made Micah a pleasurable person to be around. Chase Fisher said, “He was friends with many different groups of people.” Coach Rhoney continued this same idea, “He had the gift of connecting with people from all walks of life. In high school, kids have a tendency to develop cliques. The jocks, the band, skateboarders, etc, all have their own little group that they connect with. Micah connected with everyone. He connected with the runners, the musicians, the AP students, the artists, even children and parents connected with Micah.”