Colt worked at the SkyBoat last year covering college football games at UCF, USF and his favorite school, FSU. Most of the time, Colt was on the sidelines taking photos while I was in the press box tweeting out in-game updates and preparing the game story.
At 6 ft. 9 inches, Colt towered over all the photographers on the sidelines and was easy to spot on the field from high-up in the press box. It was something that all of us at the SkyBoat joked about with Colt, as he was never out of eyesight.
“I just love the experience and am glad to be so close to the game.” Colt would always tell me. “If you need someone, I’m your guy.” he’d say with a smile.
Unfortunately, as the excitement of the 2015 College Football season approaches, only one thing is for certain; we don’t have a chance to make any more of these memories with Colt.
Colt was 25 when he passed away in February of this year and I only had the pleasure of knowing him for about a year. However, some of the fondest memories I have of Colt are centered on the game of football, which was both of our passions.
You see, last season he was more excited about that game than any other game. He had never been to an FSU vs. Florida game until that moment back in November, when he was on the sidelines capturing all the moments with his Cannon 60D.
Colt’s second favorite team in College Football was the Oklahoma Sooners and it just so happened that the Sooners were scheduled to play Clemson in the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando. So, when it came time to put in bowl credentials for College Football postseason, this was one of the ones that he wanted to be at. And he was there, capturing all his dreams with each click of the camera.
His passion for the game was undeniable, and covering the games relit the fire inside of him that dreamed of playing college football. So, after graduating with his Bachelor’s degree in Film from Full Sail University in November of 2014, he made a decision to go after that dream. A dream that had been cut short in High School after an injury hindered his playing career, as well as his recruitment by FSU.
After he and his mother talked with Warner University head coach Rod Shafer, Colt made the decision to enroll in the Christian University in Lake Wales, FL, and pursue his dream.
After Colt’s passing, his head coach attended the memorial service and told the congregation assembled that he had never had a player make a bigger impact on his players and staff than Colt did in the 5 weeks that he was on the football team.
Shafer said he would ask Colt how he was doing and he would always reply, “Great coach! I’m living the dream!”
Well, in the midst of his joining the football team at Warner there was another big football game that Colt was scheduled to cover with The SkyBoat team out it Dallas. It was the College Football Playoff National Championship game between Ohio State and Oregon.
We were finalizing preparations for our departure to Dallas when I received a call from Colt. I’ll never forget the call.
Colt told me, “Adrian, I’m really sorry buddy. I have some bad news; you’re going to have to get someone else to take my place covering the game. My dad is in the hospital and I don’t want to miss out on any time with him.”
In the moment I remember that I was in panic mode trying to figure out new plans and fix the logistics for our coverage of the game. With Colt out of the mix for the game we had a hole in our staff that I would have to fix before our departure in the next 24 hours.
But this moment showed who Colt really was and what was most important to him in life. That was family.
This can’t be real right? I thought to myself, there has to be some mistake. There was no way that our lovable giant could have passed away. Well, much to my and many people’s displeasure, it was true.
The day was February 11, 2015 when beloved friend, brother, and son, Colt Cardwell joined his Lord and Savior in heaven. Shortly after, we had his memorial service and the grieving process continued.
The hardest part of it all was going to the service, meeting with his family and sharing in the tears and the memories. It all meant that he was truly gone and the chance to make new memories with our brother was gone.
As we embark on another season of our college football coverage with our SkyBoat team, we dedicate the coverage this season to our beloved friend Colt Cardwell. Though he is gone, his memory will never be forgotten. I know that I speak on behalf of all our staff by saying that when we look down on that field from the press box or across the field from one sideline to the other, there will be a piece of us missing.
He believed in what we stand for, he believed in chasing the dream. Against all odds, we will continue to chase the dream in his honor. His presence will always be felt with us.
We love you brother! This season is for you.
In Loving Memory of Colt Houston Cardwell