How are you doing?

At first glance, the title for this post is going to seem very strange, but by the end of the post I hope that it will make sense.

Most of the time on this blog I’m talking about books, I’ve tagged over 250 of my 325-ish posts with the ‘books’ tag, but I’m also a fairly big sports junkie.  You’d never know it looking through my blog of course, my ‘sports’ tag has been used all of 1 time out of all of my posts.  But there was something eventful in the sports world this weekend that I want to talk about.  (And for those of you watch a lot of Sportscenter, it’s exactly what you think it is.)

This past Saturday, Jovan Belcher, a linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs killed his girlfriend before taking his own life in the parking lot outside of their home stadium.  I’m not going to call the entire event a tragedy like many people will – because while I enjoy sports, I don’t consider athletes to be so far above us regular joes that they should be worshipped.  I do feel sorry for his girlfriend’s family, and for the young child they left behind.

While this event has gotten a lot of attention from the national media, I’m going to take a slightly different take on the situation, and this all starts from the post game interview speech given by Brady Quinn, quarterback for the Chiefs.  (Quinn starts about 20 seconds into the video.)

In 30 seconds Quinn perfectly sums up everything that should be said about the incident.  Think about it for a second.  How often do we ask people how they’re doing and then half-heartedly listen to what they say in response?  I’ve seen people ask me how I’m doing and then walk away before I have a chance to talk, and I’m sure that I’ve done the same to other people as well.

In my Abnormal Psychology class, one of the things that our teacher discussed was the idea of taking any mention of suicide seriously.  And to treat it as if the person was talking about how they’re going to do it.  Life isn’t easy, and there are times when it seems like the only way out is to end it, I’ve been there before, and I know several other people who have been as well.  I’ve had a friend tell me that my being in their life was the reason they didn’t kill themself.  It’s a powerful moment in your life, and the simple act of being there for a friend is one of the easiest things you can do.

Technology has improved our ability to communicate with everyone, I’m using some of this technology right now as I talk about this.  But while we’re more connected to everyone in our lives than people at any point in history, we seem to have more distance between us than ever before.

When you ask someone how they’re doing, take the time to listen to their answer.  When you go out with someone, put your phone away and talk to them.  It’s the easiest thing in the world to do, and you never know how you can change their lives.

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7 Comments

  1. I live in Kansas City and it was awful to wake up Saturday morning to read that story. It is a tragedy, as is every senseless death. Its one thing to commit suicide…a horrible thing to be sure. It is entirely another to kill another person, deprive them of life and their family of their presence and then to kill yourself after the fact. I feel so sorry for their daughter who will grow up with that horrible incident in her life and for the family of both individuals. It was an awful day just like every day is awful when something like this happens, irregardless of a person’s fame and fortune.

    I found it silly that people were talking over the weekend about cancelling the game or playing it later, as if the logistics of such a thing was that easy. Those same people don’t take into account the folks that need to work those games to make a living or the revenue it generates for the city, etc. Yes, it is indeed just a meaningless game, much more so given how meaningless this whole season has been for the Chiefs. But I didn’t see anything noble about canceling the game because of a couple of very poor choices by one individual. Didn’t make sense as a way to deal with the events.

    Somewhat tongue in cheek: if the Chiefs really cared about honoring their fans and sparing us tragedy they might consider blacking out the games when a season is this bad so that we aren’t tempted to watch them week after week.

    Reply
    • I live in Northeast Ohio in the middle of Browns country, so I know the feeling of wanting the games blacked out to avoid having to watch them. “We’ll be better next year” is a yearly mantra for all Ohio sports teams.

      It really goes to show how much we over-emphasize sports in our culture, but for once I think (and hope) that the platform we give sports can used for something more important than the game.

      Reply
      • I agree. I’m a huge sports fan, but I still think it holds an undue place of honor in our society and that the reverence paid towards sports is often ridiculous.

  2. Very powerful post Adam. Thanks. What a shame it takes events of this sort to remind us to be mindful of our interactions.

    Reply
    • You may also be interested that this incident brought up a lot of talk in Kansas City about handgun ownership. Would either of them be dead today if there hadn’t been a handgun handy in the house? Its hard to say. I admittedly don’t understand that culture of violence. But it is sad to think how easy it is for things to go too far when a lack of self-control is mixed with easy access to weapons. And this from someone who is not anti-gun.

      Reply
      • I don’t have a problem with people owning guns, but I personally want nothing to do with them. I do think that guns are far too easily available to most people though, it’s probably going to be one of the bigger issues coming up in our country’s future.

  3. hannahrose42

     /  December 4, 2012

    I am not a sports fan by any degree, so I’m glad you brought this to my attention… Although it is very sad, I agree that athletes’ tragedies are no bigger than anyone else’s. I really, really appreciated what Brady Quinn said… If I had any opinion of him at all before this, it just got elevated.
    It truly is sad that many people won’t take time out of their day to stop being on their phone and just pay attention to the conversation at hand. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Reply

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