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St. Mark's School of Texas
10600 Preston Road Dallas, TX 75230
The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas


The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas


Fourth down from the free throw line

Cathey’s Column: February 3, 2024
(c) Scott Peak Photography
Noah Cathey

The last time I talked to him, we argued.

It was the last day of first grade. Fourth down from the free throw line for the game.

“Blue 42, Blue 42. Seeeeeet, Hut,” a kid yelled imitating the varsity quarterback.

As soon as he took the snap, everyone on the court knew where he was going.

“Watch the corner,” I yelled like I was Ed Reed. “He’s going to the corner!”

As the orange NERF football flew through the air, the playground went silent.

The guy secured the catch, but he was out of bounds. At least from my angle. I ran over and started celebrating with my classmates, as we had just taken down those mean, obnoxious second graders.

All of a sudden, we hear a voice screaming from the other side. “He was definitely in bounds,” he yelled. All of the big boys screamed in agreement with this crazy kid.

A verbal fight broke out between the first and second graders and I was in the middle of it. Me and a kid I knew all to well.

We argued for until the teachers decided it was time for both grades to return to their respective buildings.

I couldn’t believe I had spent my last minutes of recess arguing with some sore loser who was just mad that he had lost to a bunch of first graders.

Three years later, that sore loser died of cancer.


Tomorrow marks eight years since a close friend of mine, Hudson Wade, passed away. On Feb. 4, 2016, Hudson lost a courageous battle with leukemia. The next morning, my parents came to my bedroom to break the news. I can’t tell you how I responded, but whatever level of sadness a fourth grader can feel, I was feeling all of it and then some.

Hudson and I spent a lot of time together the five years we both went to Dallas Christian School, most of that time spent on the football practice field. We were both coaches’ kids, sons of alumni. Hudson left the next year when his dad took a Head of School position in Abilene. I left DC the next year, and we didn’t ever speak in person again.

His funeral was a rough day. It is the most I remember crying up to that point. I sat with my parents, listening to friends and family reminisce on a life cut too short.


I was shocked—in truth, I still am—that I walked the halls with someone that died. There’s something about having a friend die at a young age that shatters any sense of youthful immortality one might have.

And being so young, I don’t have many memories of being with him. I can’t remember all the forest walks and cardboard hill slides. The games of tag between Hudson, his sister Caroline, Kate Capshaw and me are too numerous to recite in detail.

But I will never forget fourth down from the free throw line.


If I knew that that day last time I would ever speak to Hudson Wade, I’d let him be right. I don’t care if the second graders won. I would have said something different.


But I do wish we could argue again. I wish we could scream at the top of our elementary lungs about playground football or the Rangers game.

But we can’t.

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About the Contributor
Noah Cathey, Design Director