24 years old. Father to a little baby girl. Dead of a gunshot wound that happened during a home invasion. Or so they say.
Joe Kennedy, 28 years old, also a father to a young child, dead of supposedly an enlarged heart.
Screw the world of sports for turning me into a cynic: first thing I thought of when I heard SeanTaylor had been shot and then passed away? His somewhat checkered past had come back to bite him in the end.
When I read of Kennedy's death, I'm sad to admit, the FIRST thing that crossed my mind was this: steroids.
I have no reason to believe that either one of these men died of anything other than what is being reported, and I feel like a first class dink for thinking otherwise. But when you've been reading and listening to the stuff that has happened over the past few years, it's really hard NOT to be a cynical S.O.B.
Barry Bonds, the all time Home Run king, has been indicted for perjury for reportedly lying about using steroids and HGH.
Chris Benoit, a professional wrestler, kills his wife, then his son, and finally, himself.
Rafiel Palmiero lies to congress, Jason Grimsley is apparently MLB's equivalent to Scarface, and Sen. George Mitchell has a report that is going to rock the baseball world. And those are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to scandals and the world of sports.
Growing up, I don't remember all this nonsense going on in professional sports. Athletes were heroes, and as such, deserved to be looked up to. At this rate, by the time Rakes and Trot are old enough to understand reality, I'm going to have to institute a ban on anything involving a ball and let them watch CNN and FOX News because the world of sports has turned into a cesspool.
Before you think I'm some naive yahoo, I realize the Mick was an alcoholic womanizer, L.T. was a coke head, and O.J. Simpson was a tad more evil than his Hertz commercials and The Naked Gun movies implied. It's just we didn't KNOW it: before the advent of 24 hour networks, sports talk radio, and the Internets, all this stuff just never got out.
I'm not mad and I'm not bitter that we find all this stuff out 1.3 seconds after it happens these days: I love the fact we can get news and get it quick, and I'm a rabid listener of XM radio and ESPN. Anger is not the emotion that I feel when I hear a story like the one involving Sean Taylor.
It's sadness I feel: sad that a father lost his life at such a young age, and sad that the culture of violence and lack of respect for human life has ingratiated it's way into our society in such a way that this sort of thing doesn't shock us anymore.
Sadness for my two boys: that they will never get to see sports as a special, magical thing. For them, the world of sports will be just another facet of life, with no demarcation line between fiction and reality.
Isn't that what sports is supposed to be? A diversion from our daily life, a welcome break from reality, where we can forget about all the pain and suffering in the world, forget about the bills and the mortgage and just enjoy a game of baseball for what it is? A child's game, played by grown men getting paid a king's ransom.
Thankfully, there are still people like David Ortiz, Tim Wakefield, and Mike Lowell I can point out to my kids as people to look up to and admire.
In the back of my mind though, I wonder: what if one of them was exposed as being a phony? What if they were like all the one's we read about and it has all been just a front? Frankly, the thought of that happening makes me sick to my stomach.
Growing older and wiser has it's good points.
But sometimes it just flat out sucks.