They packed into the stands where fans once cheered him on the field, filling the lower half of Section E and spilling over into the rest of Fouts Field.
Some were members of the North Texas football team, coaches, students or friends from home all there under the lights at Fouts Field late Wednesday night to honor Germaine Dawson, the former UNT linebacker who was shot and killed last week in what appears to be a drug deal gone bad.
To those who knew Dawson, it didn’t make sense when he was found dead on Friday. Northing about what was said at the vigil helped make sense of it. Nothing that could be said ever will.
By all accounts, Dawson was a good person.
The several hundred people in attendance got a chance to know a little more about Dawson when a few people – teammates, friends and loved ones – spoke about his life and times.
What they had to say probably said more about Dawson than the facts surrounding his death ever could.
Two leaders at the Boys and Girls Club read letters from children who got to know Dawson while he volunteered there. They called him coach, a college student who made them run when they did something wrong, just like the coaches he played for during his football career.
Dawson’s former teammates remembered him as someone who took advantage of every opportunity he had in life.
“He lived, laughed and loved,” former UNT linebacker Maurice Holman said. “He always had a smile on his face.”
UNT defensive back Antoine Bush played with Dawson and remembered the skinny walk-on who was always his own person, from what he did in life to how he dressed. It was Bush and some of the rest of his teammates who made fun of Dawson for wearing short shorts that are now only seen in the highlight films of old NBA games.
Mack Cole, a defensive end who came to UNT before last season from a Kansas junior college, remembered Dawson as the person who introduced him to most of his friends at the school.
Former UNT defensive lineman Chris Miller led the service that ended with a video tribute that showed pictures of Dawson collected throughout the course of his life.
There were old photos of Dawson from his days at Rockdale High School, pictures of him from his childhood and pictures of him with friends during his time at UNT.
It was a fitting tribute to Dawson, a man who friends and family say made an impact on the world during his short life. In the end, that is the way Dawson should be remembered, not for his end but for what he did before he met that end.
There is no better measure of a man.