I just got done watching "Unguarded", another great ESPN films movie about Chris Herren. Easily one of the top 5 films ESPN has ever done. I hope everyone takes some time and watches it when you can. I won't lie...I'm a 35 year old man with a wife and 2 year old daughter, and there were parts of it that made me really emotional. I've learned over time to not judge people as harshly as I did in my teenage years. We all make mistakes...we've all done things we totally regret...we all wish that we could go back in time and have another chance.
I had a cousin that died two years ago, and although it wasn't pills/drugs that was the cause of her death, she was never the same after becoming addicted to pills. I remember, as a teenager, how much I loved being around her...she was the "cool" cousin that all of us had. I went off to college, moved down South for a job, and didn't keep in touch like I should have. I went home one weekend and my Mom warned me that when I saw her she wouldn't be the same; she was walking with a wobble; she was slurring her words; she wasn't keeping herself up like most women her age would. Mom was right. My cousin had become addicted to pills...painkillers...other things...and it tore me up. The last memory of her was visiting my wife and I about four months after my daughter's birth. I was nervous handing my baby to her, but couldn't act like it. I remember my cousin sitting on the floor, standing up, and falling right back down; it scared me. Her Mom just shrugged it off and tried to act like nothing was wrong. That was the last time I saw my cousin, and it's not the way I envisioned it.
I know that this is a message board for sports; I apologize for breaking the mold for a bit. After watching "Unguarded" this morning, I thought of a lot of things, and as much as I hate to bring this up, I couldn't help but think of a great Maryland basketball player whose passing left a huge hole in the hearts of 'Terp fans, and still does. I've been a school teacher and coach for the past 13 years and I wouldn't trade my job (no matter the pay) for any in the world. I was told in college to never become friends with your students, but you can't help it. There are so many good kids in the world today that just need attention...need a pat on the back...need a "great job" when they succeed...because you just don't know what kind of environment they go home to. I make it a habit to tell my middle school football boys and varsity baseball guys that I love them on a regular basis. Smart...probably not. But I don't care. My father died of a heart attack when he was 35 years old; I was four...it was exactly two weeks before my fifth birthday. My Mom never remarried, mainly because I was a prick to any guy she dated. I never got to play catch with him...he never got to see me graduate from high school...he never got to see me play college baseball...he never saw me get married...he never met his granddaughter...so when I tell my players I love them, I guess it's the father coming out in me that I never had. What's funny is that 95% of the time when I tell my kids that I love them, they tell me the same thing right back.
I hope all of us on this board will take some time to be thankful for the things we have. I'm thankful for the health of my family, and thankful that I can get on this board and debate/share opinions with other rabid 'Terp fans as well. Again, please see "Unguarded" when you can. It'll definitely make you appreciate the little things in life.