By Tom Price Jr.
Even in death Kyle Goodwin can make his teammates laugh.
Out from underneath the hood of his black sweatshirt a smile surfaced on the tired face of Keith Robinson. Robinson was Goodwin's best friend and has had trouble sleeping since the morning of Jan. 2 when 16-year-old Goodwin was killed in a single car accident on Mineral King Road.
"He was always there to cheer me up," Robinson said. "He was always right down the street, I would talk to him everyday. I keep expecting him to come knocking on my door."
Robinson, Brad Garver and Goodwin had been teammates in the pool since they were 10 years old. Their high school coach and Brad's father Steve Garver had watched them grow up in the pool and in life.
"I remember even when they were little thinking how fun it was going to be to coach them until they were seniors," Steve Garver said. "All you can say is that he is going to be sorely missed."
Things are different now.
Some of his teammates don't want to accept it and others just want to remember him.
"I didn't believe it when I first heard [That Goodwin had died]," teammate Brad Garver said. "It still hasn't sunk in yet."
When the team enters the pool next year they will be without the voice and heart of the team. Teammate Aaron Henderson says Goodwin was always the one to get the team pumped up before games.
"We would even be losing and he would never get depressed," Henderson said. "He would always say, 'we'll get them next time."
Goodwin provided a noticeable spark to a sputtering Monarch squad after joining the team late in the season. He was savvy with the ball and added another weapon for defenders to think about.
"He really liked to score," Exeter coach Steve Garver said. "He always worked hard and knew he wanted to be here."
But perhaps even more than his dedication and heart, Goodwin will be remembered for his humor.
The team describes him as a goofy character that could spark rolling laughter on a moments notice. Wether it was his pink goggles or awkward water polo shots he always made them smile.
"He was a goofy guy," teammate Marshall Thompson said. "He would take this shot where his whole body would go under water except for the ball and his arm. I don't know how he did it but he always made it."
As a tribute to the strong ties built on the water polo team, Goodwin's teammates wore their letterman jackets to his funeral on Jan. 7. Furthermore Robinson says he would like to wear Goodwin's number, No. 9 on the back of his cap and dedicate his senior season to Kyle.
Robinson feels a sense of responsibility to the Goodwin family. He says he has and will continue to bring happy memories to them and tell them how much he was loved.
"I am going to be a regular visitor at that house," Robinson said. "Everybody liked Kyle, he was genuinely a good person with a great personality."
When they finally ran out of stories, a somber silence overcame the team and Robinson had only one more thing to say.
"God I miss that guy."