Thursday, May 3, 2012

Junior


With apologies to Claire and Elizabeth, some of the following post is going to be about football.

But only some.

But Heather insisted that I start writing again, and who am I to say no to a dear friend? She says 'You need it.'

I suppose I do. Especially since Ohio still doesn't allow Medical Marijuana Cards. Bummer.

The post has a football-centric flavor but it also, however, touches on something I think all of us can relate to, and that is pain. The kind of pain that pushes a person beyond the brink, past a point from which there is no return. To that place where some people can find a tangible thing to cling to that prevents them from doing what Tiaina Baul Seau apparently did yesterday.

And that's taking your own life.

Seau, who you may know better as 'Junior', played most of his career for the San Diego Chargers (13 seasons) and he also played for the Dolphins and the Patriots. He is a first round ballot Hall of Fame player for sure, and he was THE defensive linebacker of the 90's in my opinion. He was, by reputation, EXTREMELY well-liked by both fellow teammates and opponents. An all-around good guy.


The man won awards and even played in two Super Bowls. The teams he was on lost both. The most famous being the unbelievable upset of the Giants over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. He is, ironically, the EIGHTH player from the 1994 Chargers team that lost that Super Bowl that has died. It is super crazy.

Apparently he, like many men after football, had a very difficult time with life after the game. What should he be DOING with himself? How does he adjust from being one type of individual, living one type of life, surrounded by teammates and friends and then being on the sidelines, watching it unfold from a distance?

Not all players have these issues. But many do. A lot have careers after football. Coaching, or television, some involvement with the franchises they play for. But there is some kind of isolation, some kind of disconnect for a lot of them. But only each of them know how difficult it is in their own lives.

For Junior, that and whatever was going on in his personal life was intense enough for him to end his own life.

That's a huge tragedy.


I listen to a lot of talk radio. All day long. One of the local shows here has a former Buckeye player (that's Ohio State, Claire and Elizabeth...College Football), Dimitrious Stanley, co-hosting with Anthony Rothman. It's called 'The Big Show', and I only keep it on since it is between The Herd and an afternoon show I listen to. I won't be listening to it any longer, all because of ONE thing that Dimitrious said yesterday, and that was that Dimitrious had no sympathy for Junior since Junior took his own life.

It was short-sighted, it was narrow-minded, and it was just stupid. You can't be inside a guy's head and know what he is feeling, you can't say he 'took the coward's way out' because you aren't walking in his shoes. I have zero respect for Stanley now after he makes a comment like that.

It would be very easy for me to look and say 'Man, that guy had SO much going for him...money, fame, legacy, how can he possibly be in a position to where he could want to do that!?!?'

Yet, on the other hand, consider this. I'm nearly the same age as Junior. I am in a position where my career (making toys & collectibles) has taken a giant shit because of our circumstances, where I am now cut-off from something that I loved doing, suddenly finding myself alone most of the time, with very little contact with former friends and colleagues (with ANYONE for that matter). I now watch those colleagues make GREAT stuff from the sidelines. These days I spend most of the time questioning how in the world I am going to take care of my family over the next twenty years.


So you wanna know the terrible truth of it all? I totally get it. And THAT'S the scary part.

And I'm sure there are plenty of middle-aged men out there, and women too, struggling with whatever they are struggling with, who are as freaked out by that as I am.

OUT.

8 comments:

  1. You do need it. You really and truly do.

    I read several articles yesterday about Junior and each one I read, I left feeling absolutely saddened by the depths of despair that must have led to that moment.

    And this post, resonated with me, in ways I could never,ever articulate in this small space.

    This spoken by a middle-aged struggling woman who gets it.

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  2. I have a friend here in Los Angeles who is making a documentary about the effects of football on the brain and what happens to these guys as they age -- scary, scary stuff -- and another reason for me to hate football.

    But I do love you, Blogzilly.

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  3. I gotta agree with you. Well written post. I certainly have immense sympathy AND empathy for those who choose that way out.

    While I believe that it takes more courage to live than to die (like that) I also know that Depression is a disease which clouds the mind, robs it of the ability to experience joy, and offers only feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.

    He needed help.

    About the guy who expressed his anger by witholding sympathy...I've been there....I've been very, very pissed at people who "jump ship" (as I call it sometimes). Sure, they have their own private demons....

    But their death gives birth to many other demons, for many others.

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  4. I completely agree with Dora's Daddy. Well said.

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  5. Junior's death shocked me as well and it especially hit home since like you, i am also about the same age. Glad to see you back writing. And hey, I don't mind the football posts :)

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  6. Well, I'm not middle aged, unless you consider 25 middle aged, but I have suffered with depression at several points in my life and I get it. A weather man around here committed suicide this year, and my husband said he couldn't understand how people do that. I hope he never does have to understand it.

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  7. omg get out of my head. Did you see what I blogged about today?

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  8. Hearing about Junior's death may well end up being one of those 'I remember where I was when I heard...' moments for me years from now. He will always be a son of San Diego but in the few years that he played for the Patriots his outgoing and positive attitude made him a quick part of the New England community. He was at every event meeting fans with such energy. Much of the chit chat among my co-workers today was about losing Junior.

    I don't think I can say that I truly understand what can drive a man to do this but there are so many things that people do that I don't understand. Far be it from me to judge another man's choices without walking in his shoes. My heart goes out to him, his family,and friends.

    Welcome back Ken. We've missed you but this post was worth the wait.

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