Sunday, May 28, 2006

They would've wanted me to....

A couple of days ago, the mother of Orioles right-fielder Jay Gibbons died unexpectedly. The passing of a loved one is obviously a very sad time - especially when it is one's parent. However, what astonished me was the fact that the very next day Gibbons was in uniform, back with the team. This case was not an aberration, as we often hear of athletes' loved ones passing and the player is back with the team in a ridiculously short amount of time. Time and time again we hear the athlete say, "It is what they would've wanted" or, "he/she wouldn't have had it any other way".

Personally, I think it's ridiculous. There is a loss that is felt whenever someone near passes on. To just jump back in the regular routine the next day is side-stepping the natural course of grieving, and one that could potentially cause the person to have trouble coping with this loss later down the road. I really doubt that any of these athletes had conversations with their loved ones before they passed detailing how long they would miss from "the game". Therefore, their guess as to what they would've wanted is just that, a guess. And, on top of that, you're depriving yourself of a very important time of mourning.

Of course, in Judaism, we have a very detailed outline for this grieving process. The process lasts almost a full year with a gradual tapering of the mourning practices. This, I believe, is the healthy way to do things. To continue to mourn and remember for a lengthy period of time, while gradually moving back in to the regular rigors of a job and family. I was happy to see that upon Larry Hughes' brother's passing a couple weeks back, he didn't pull the whole "he would've wanted me to" shtick. Hughes, a key contributor for the Cavaliers, missed 4 games of a hotly contested 2nd-round matchup against the Detroit Pistons. Hughes realized that his brother was very important to him and someone that deserved a period of remembrance and reflection. Don't tell me that coming back the next night is the what they wanted; more than probably, you're lying to us, to them, and more importantly, to themselves.


Blogger ADDeRabbi said...

great point. i remember thinking that about tony dungy during the FB season.

8:43 PM, May 28, 2006


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