I was deeply touched after hearing about the death of NFL great Junior Seau. It brought to mind the many tragedies of wonderful lives cut short when everything on the surface appeared that all was well. Admittedly, I have not read up on Seau’s life and the circumstances surrounding his death. What struck me was how unbelievable it was to others, who have not enjoyed a much deserved celebrated career from putting in the time and effort to remain steadfast on a particular set of rules as the center of their lives, which have dismissed his passing with the platitude of, “Well you never know. Those guys had so much to live for.”
I was at work when the passing of Seau was brought up in discussion. Immediately it led to the discussion of how many former San Diego Chargers from the 2008 or 2009 season are no longer with us. The conversation then went to, “Isn’t it funny how all these guys make all that money and soon after they retire they file bankruptcy or commit suicide?” To me the answer was an emphatic no. It’s not funny, and I know that “funny” was not used in the sense of it being humorous. It’s a tragedy and I understand how it comes about.
Let’s take into consideration the life of a celebrated NFL player. I do not want to lose my point in statistics. Suffice it to say that the majority of individuals who have enjoyed a celebrated career in the NFL started playing this sport at around age 9 or 10. From Pop Warner Leagues they went on to high school and then to college perfecting their ability to play that game with the hopes of being drafted into the NFL ranks. Once they got to the NFL, everyday they had to maintain their focus on getting better and helping their teams to win. Saying that a celebrated NFL player stays in the league for ten years, we can view a not so obvious fact. For 20 years this person’s mentality, focus, way of looking at life and way of being were all centered on the precepts and principles of athleticism and the game of football. Afterwards they are expected to “return” to and blend in with normal society. This is a huge transition. Does this sound familiar? Of course it does.
The same type of transition is expected of those who leave active military service. For all, and their families, this can be a huge undertaking. From my experience, those who have the most difficulty are those who were highly motivated and those who served in any form of special operations. I would relate these to the celebrated NFL player.
What’s my point? It’s simple. It is a tragedy when our great ones take their own lives because, for whatever reason, they could not blend in a be a part of something that can be said to be smaller than what they for years trained for and became a part of.
I think it was the Buddha who said, “We must joyfully participate in the sorrows of the earth.” In this case we who transition must get used to being smaller than we once were and renew our minds to the understanding that we can be transition figures who can bring our current environment and circumstances up to the level where we once lived. Also, we can learn to live love – ourselves and others and come to the understanding that what we once did does not determine what we can and will do.
Tell me what you think. Leave a note.