A brief deviation

I’m not really a football fan. Let me say that from the start. I married a hardcore Chargers fan, so I tolerate it out of necessity, but it’s never been a game I had an attachment to.

But I was a Junior Seau fan.

I grew up in Oceanside, Junior’s hometown, and our little town couldn’t be more proud of his success. He would come to high school pep rallies. He took care of his family and friends and neighbors and was actively involved in philanthropy. You couldn’t find a single person willing to badmouth him. In short, he was a real sports role model, the kind so uncommon these days.

The news of his suicide came as a shock to me and to his many many fans. Even in his utter despair, it’s thought he chose to end his life with a bullet to the torso instead of to his head so others might be able to study the effects of his career and brain damage. Here, at his lowest moment, still thinking of others.

It’s so hard to really know someone by outward appearances, isn’t it? Money, beauty, success, talent, none of it guarantees happiness. Depression is a nasty, nasty beast that can take down anyone, and no amount of fame or fortune can guarantee one immunity.

I’ve seen so many people in practice struggling with depression; sometimes I know because they tell me, and sometimes I know just because I know, all too well. Online, a lot of people have shared with me how their pet has helped them through tremendously difficult times, and that, too, I understand very well. There have been many times I have been so grateful for the calming weight of a warm dog’s shoulder, a much needed anchor in a storm.

I’m sad that the demons were too many for this man to bear, a man who had done so much good in this world and yet could not escape whatever internal weight he struggled with. We may never know the cause, be it injury or illness or genetics or circumstances, nor does it matter to me. I feel for everyone and anyone who has gone through that kind of anguish. So I’m just putting this out there to the universe in case someone happens upon it who needs to see it: yes, other people are out there who understand, and I promise, we care.

Bye, Junior. I’m sorry you left us so soon. If you see a big red furball bounding around up there, say hi from me, OK?

Filed: Blog, Musings Tagged: , ,
  • Lisa W

    Absolutely lovely.

  • amy

    I was reading an article that questioned if we hadn’t brought this on by the use of helmets and padding. This allows the players a feeling of invicibility – that they can hit hard and be hit hard and not be injured. That’s fine for bones, but since the brain is floating in the skull, it causes the brain to bounce around – and it has no nerves and therefore no pain indicators. I have never been a football fan because I never got the thrill of seeing people hitting one another hard enough to cause injury without protective gear. While I know that I am a minority, I don’t see it as a game of skill, but more of a game of power and brutality. I can’t reconcile teaching children not to hit, but then telling them that body slamming is ok because it is a game. OK, we’re an animal with a brain, and the instincts that ruled us still work really well. So much so that we group to the physically powerful. That basic instinct can not recognize that brain power can be far more effective that physical power. Oh well. Sigh.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you.

  • Susi

    Nicely done.

  • xo

  • Thank you for this post and sharing your experiences with Junior Seau. He was a role model in many ways and will be missed.

  • Cathey

    As usual, you are spot on.