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.