With sports, we often use wild, and warlike metaphors and analogies. Sadly, that’s not the case here.
In wake of the situation, the words are morbidly familiar…
Traded some texts with some #WAZZU FB coaches regarding the Tyler Hilinski tragedy. Folks up there are in shock by the news: “He was one of most outgoing kids on the team who was always smiling.”
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) January 17, 2018
‘He was so…(INSERT WORDS THAT WOULDN’T ALARM ANYONE OF DANGER)’
I guess I can’t expect, in this situation, 18 to 22 year olds to intuitively ask themselves if their teammate was really as happy as he emanated, or if like myself and many others, it was a protective mask hiding their true macabre state of mind and emotions.
It’s not even a fear of mine, it’s more like a future I need to ensure doesn’t ever occur. Too often I think about my dad no longer around, no dogs of my own to care for, and I fall prey to my depressed, then suicidal thoughts.
This is my top precept for why someone like me should not be allowed to legally own a gun. Ask it on the background check: HAVE YOU EVER VISITED WITH A MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL, or something similar to that. Sure, I could track one down – and there’s other ways to make the attempt – but in the time I did, hopefully my suicidal ‘courage’ would’ve evaporated. Essentially, second, and wiser thoughts.
I’m extremely candid with my mental health struggles, so I’m hoping if my behavior ever seems more dour than usual, someone will take the words and sentiments of Brady Quinn very seriously, after this terrifyingly public murder-suicide by his teammate.
How are you?
Hindsight is always perfect vision. Perhaps now, Hilinski’s teammates, coaches, teachers, friends and family can look back and likely vividly see signs that could have portended such deadly thoughts and actions were on the horizon.
Please know, I’m not blaming them, though maybe some deserve it. Their punishment will be their conscience. Wins, not even education, are worth life.
It’s impossible to know everything. Even about those close to us. We’ve all heard, read and seen stories about next door neighbors, relatives, or coworkers that end with I had no idea (insert one of the previously mentioned) had seven terabytes of snake porn on his computer or really, they did WHAT. Eh, you get the idea.
The story that gave rise to my ceaseless eyebrow raising cynicism of others is the Kobe Bryant rape case. I was 24. Not far away from the age of those Washington State kids, thus my forgiveness and sympathy. NO WAY I thought Kobe, already an NBA champion and icon, someone from nearby my hometown, with a gorgeous wife could have driven the lane past a NO from a woman. Got that wrong. Nobody thought OJ Simpson could be capable of murderously slicing up two human beings either, right?
See, we don’t and can’t know everything. There are clues though. Often in plain sight. Just pause. It could save a life.
You watched the Brady Quinn video above?
When we ask someone how they’re doing, do we really mean it? No, not really. It’s just a friendly colloquial greeting.
But I plead with you, maybe even for my own future’s sake, if your instinct about someone says something is off, heed the words of Quinn. Not howareyou, try, for real, HOW ARE YOU?
I have a friend, who knows he is, because of what he’s shared with me, I MEAN IT WHEN I ASK IT.
Another geographically distant friend of mine who knows I spill my mental health guts for everyone to digest, and maybe learn a little too, just recently messaged me about her concern for a coworker. Behavior had changed and some suicide jokes were cracked. Other coworkers of theirs took note as well. By acting, these people may have saved this man’s life, and now can work together, with his family, to show him that he’s not a burden on any them.
I close my TED Talk with, within that hopelessness and helplessness, there is hope and help. There are mind-numbing times when even I don’t recognize that. The cloud of depression has altered my reality and my bent my rational. That’s when I…we need YOU to step in, and ask, how are you.