Monday, December 03, 2007

Sean Taylor: Requiem

Watching the Redskins lose to the Buffalo Bills on an appropriately dreary day was draining.

So was Sean Taylor's funeral. The meek, mild-mannered guy who shares this space posted his piece on the funeral over at Hog Heaven. It portrayed a side of Taylor that never got press, but should have. Sean Taylor never knew how many people loved and admired him.

Rich Tandler put up the best post I've seen [so far] on yesterday's game Insignificant But Not Unimportant. He points out that Joe Gibbs' brain boo-boo was not the cause for the loss, just the last of a string of events that resulted.

Tandler lists them for the game, but gets to the heart of the issue by writing:

"And, truth be told, the game was lost at about 3:30 on Tuesday morning when Sean Taylor’s heart stopped beating. Football is a game of emotion and the Redskins had expended a ton of it during the course of the week. When they went up 16-5 it appeared that the Redskins simply ran out of emotional gas. There is only so much in the human tank in a given period of time. Usually, even in a losing locker room, there is some energy there, some adrenaline still flowing. Yesterday there was nothing left but tear-filled eyes and deep sighs."

I've tried to figure out why Sean Taylor's death would affect me so personally. Great player? Tragic circumstances? Yes. But, there are plenty of Redskins players who would not have generated this outpouring.

The loss of Taylor is the loss of hope. Sean Taylor and Jason Campbell are the two players you can -- could have in Taylor's case -- build a team around. I connected with them. Watched them grow as players and presumed their growth as people. I wanted to see how far they would carry the Redskins, and therefore, carry me.

Yet, it's more than the loss of a key player. After watching the Redskins of the 1990s, Taylor was personification of the Redskins we want -- hard-hitting, uncompromising, and yes, intimidating. The better part of the Redskins died a week ago tonight.
I am Catholic. The Gospel reading for yesterday's Mass comes from Matthew 24:37-44

Jesus said to his disciples: “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
In those days before the flood, they were eating and drinking,marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day that Noah entered the ark.
They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away.
So will it be also at the coming of the Son of Man.
Two men will be out in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left.
Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken, and one will be left.
Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.
Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into.
So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”

That passage always had a special meaning for me. My Catholic, all-male high school required us to attend Mass every Friday. That passage from Matthew was burned in my brain one Friday afternoon.

My last class that day was sophomore geometry, with time passing in that dreadfully slow way that only occurs at school. At about 2:35 p.m., someone came to the classroom door and spoke quietly to the teacher, Fr. Austin. It was November 22, 1963, and a visibly shaken Fr. Austin informed us that President Kennedy had been shot.

Kennedy, Taylor, both victims of gun violence; both life & death lessons of that passage from Matthew. Ironic that particular reading it should roll around now.

1 comment:

evorgleb said...

The whole Sean Taylor thing is so disturbing to me. Especially after finding out that the suspects are so young.

Another writer over at Highbrid Nation did a nice peice on how some in the media want to blame hip hop for Taylor's death. Which is crazy if you ask me.

It'd be nice if we can stop the finger pointing and come up with some real solutions to help our lost youth.