The end is dark.
I am not the man who knows, I am the man who hopes he doesn't know.
Junior Seau is dead from a (reportedly self-inflicted) gunshot wound to the chest. Echoes of Dave Duerson.
I'm not a Seau aficionado, but I paid attention to him as a player, and appreciated that he seemed to (at least try to) walk upright in the world.
This is not about that. This is about the nightmare of life-after-. In his case, it was life-after-football.
I'm sure the lingering pain is relevant, the concussions piled upon concussions, the blown knees and shoulders. NFL players were always motivators to me, as a player (This whole Brian Dawkins video is great, but I've cued it to the moment that tells the most about what it is to put the Team First). They displayed the level of caring for results to the point of sacrifice that I always wished I could emulate, however weakly, however meekly.
The palimpsest of my reinventions is muddled at best. The fearless animal I rewrote with sweat&blood over the unsure neophyte was necessarily temporary. I was a roaring lion once. I am now a calm center.
What then comes next? Junior Seau thought he would surf. I'm trying to ride Ellis Kim's Seated (Awesome Loaner) Bike. I still think I've played my last "real" game, but I'll never totally rule out playing again-- I've never been as good at anything in my life as I was at being on a Nationals-level club frisbee team. I love having time and not experiencing constant burning knee pain. I don't love time like I loved ultimate. I don't love ultimate like I loved ultimate. That path is closed. I don't know which way is open.
I didn't make any money playing ultimate, but I made my fortune playing ultimate.
Ultimate wasn't my job, but it was my occupation.
Junior's path is one that seems all to real to me. Some days are so dark and cold... I miss my teammates. Some days are so long and pointless... I miss my single-mindedness. Some days I work against my better judgement to turn my goddamned brain off and just make it to sleep time so I can see the sun rise again in the morning. It is always mostly downhill from there.
What if the pain and longing doesn't change? What if it intensifies instead of abating? What if my mind turns out to be more flawed than my body? Could that be me? Would I...?
After rain the sun shines, after sun the rain falls.
There is so much I see in the world now that I've broadened my focus, But what if it all always pales in comparison to this? Or the other myriad moments which were not captured so adroitly?
I didn't make it to the NFL, where the stakes are higher. I can't imagine what it is like. I can't pretend that I would be strong enough of mind (let alone the obvious body) to get there and survive, let alone thrive. I'm not coming down from the same heights, but I'm coming down. I just don't know how far I have yet to fall
My thoughts&wishes are nothing, but I wish with all my nothings that you found peace, Junior Seau.
Wednesday, May 2
The end is dark.