Thursday, May 3, 2012

take a moment

Not to be grim or dark, but I wanted to share an article that I found to be quite powerful. No, I'm not some crazy NFL fan, this just hits at the core of the human spirit.

If you didn't hear yesterday, former NFL great Junior Seau killed himself. The power of money and demand for entertainment the world puts on those who are talented is TOO BIG. We are not meant to perform like circus animals (animals aren't meant to be in the circus either, but that's for another day) for the enjoyment of our peers. 

At the end of the day we are all human. That is such a great connection that so many of us miss. 

We are all searching for something bigger than ourselves, something to give us hope, something to make us feel good. That something isn't another human, or another tackle, or another concert or album, or another autograph, or another photo in People Magazine. 

"Entertainers" cannot and will not be your God. 
Stop forcing them to be. 
The damage and lives are not worth it. 





Junior Seau, the former NFL great, died early today of an apparent suicide, a bullet to the chest, at forty-three. If today is an average day, another one hundred Americans will have killed themselves before midnight. Their names will not make nearly as much news.

Seau's death, not incorrectly, will become another in a long string of indictments against football. There are patterns here, of players coming out of the NFL damaged beyond repair, many with broken brains, and with an unacceptable — what a strange word to use when talking about young corpses, implying that some amount is acceptable — percentage of them dying prematurely. The inevitable autopsy reports — both the actual ones, and the countless dissections you'll read in the coming days and weeks — will find both biological and psychological causes of death. Some of the players will die because 350-pound men routinely die from the load they carry; some of them will die because of concussions and concussion-related symptoms; some of them will die because, like Seau, they decide that death is a better alternative to life. And some of them, many of them, will die because of a combination of those factors, x + y. We know this to be true. These are mathematical facts.

Because Seau apparently shot himself in the chest, his death will be inevitably compared to Dave Duerson's, the former Chicago Bear who also shot himself in the chest last year, better to preserve his brain for science and lawsuits. There is no doubt that over his twenty brutal seasons in the NFL, Seau suffered his share of brain damage. There will be dark shadows found inside of him. And everyone will talk about how something has to change and how terrible this all is and, gee, is it really worth all this for a game? And then everyone will buy their tickets and popcorn and get ready for some subtly altered version of football.
This is an incredibly complex issue, of course. It's not going to be solved quickly or with bandages. It's pointless, in fact, to try to find a single answer — "the golden BB," accident investigators call it — to a collection of a thousand questions.

Why do football players kill themselves? On the surface, at least, they do it for the same reason hockey players like Rick Rypien and Wade Belak do. And for the same reason taxi drivers and ballet dancers and poets and construction workers and janitors and teachers and doctors do: They do it because they are depressed, because they are in such a dark place that they choose death. It's a hard thing to think about, but if you do anything in the memory of Junior Seau today, please think about this for a moment: How bad would your life have to be for you to put a gun to your chest and put a bullet into your heart? How deep would be that despair?

Now, why are they depressed? That's where everything divides, and the equations become much more complicated. But one of the root problems among the many is that happy people have short memories and sad people have long ones. We forget or we ignore or we get busy doing something else, and all this time, someone is sitting at home with a gun in his hand and trying so hard not to remember, trying like hell to believe that the future will not be like the past.

In that moment, those who fail, those who can't get beyond their own mistakes or the sins that have been committed against them, they will join the ranks of the self-inflicted dead. Your guilt won't have saved them. Those who find something, anything, to hang on to, some cause for hope or optimism or even an outstretched hand, survive. Your love will save them.

And yet those who are dead will be called cowards by those who don't understand the certainty that this takes, or selfish, or they will be looked upon with distant pity, the way Junior Seau will be talked about these next few days until something else comes along to distract us. And those who have lived, you'll see them at the grocery store or in the office or on the pages of a magazine and you won't have any idea how close they were to becoming a small pile of bones in the ground or ashes in a tin on a shelf. And life will continue apace, the way it always does, after the requisite amount of handwringing and words of commiseration, and here we'll all be, observing a moment of silence in one instant and careless and forgetful again in the next, and another 3,000 or so Americans will disappear every month, and we'll hear only about the one or two of them who wrote songs or drew buildings or played football, because the rest of them, the literal and figurative piles of dead, we wouldn't dream of changing any of the rules for them. We don't even know their names.


Read more: http://www.esquire.com/the-side/opinion/jr-seau-dead-8546574#ixzz1tpJjLPKG

3 comments:

Marissa said...

Allison - thanks so much for posting this. Depression is such a widespread disease in our time & it can hit very close to home. I suffered severe depression after the passing of my father a few years back that I still struggle with today. It's a serious condition & I'm so thankful that you thought enough of others to bring this to light.

Danielle (elleinadspir) said...

Nice post. This new stuck with me all day yesterday. I wasn't a huge fan of his or anything, but I remember him playing. Just sad.

beth said...

Amen.

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