Thursday, September 28, 2006

Yo, this is T.O.

My own battle with depression has occasionally made for me to support unlikely public figures. Alex Rodriguez is one. He was traded to the Yankees for one of my favorite young prospects, Alfonso Soriano, who has continued to grow into an explosive force. Pay-Rod? The guy that took that contract? The guy who (according to The Boat and other Mets fans) wanted some kind of special arrangement in the Mets clubhouse? But when he gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to that Harlem childrens hospital for mental illness and said that he, himself, went to therapy, I found myself pulling for him more and more. Wanting him to succeed. Wanted all the booing and hatred to stop, knowing that if I was depressed, the people who are supposed to support me booing would be the last thing I would need. Wanting him to succeed, and knowing (depression as I do) that even batting .500 in the World Series with 5 home runs might solve his critics, but would not solve his own demons.

A few years back, Schedule1 told me why he pulled for Terrell Owens, as he had heard about his life growing up, and could understand why he did some of the strange stuff he did on the field. Mind you, this was before all the weird stuff with Jeff Garcia, and with the public falling out with McNabb. I can't speak for Schedule1 now. But I do know with the story of Terrell Owens, too many pain killers and a Dallas Hospital that I was wondering.

Michael Silver of SI.com wrote a great piece on the TO story from the perspective of mental illness. He seems to get a bunch of things that the rest of the media are missing in this story, like:

"Irrational, negative and hopeless thoughts are the core symptoms of clinical depression. The factors that lead someone to attempt suicide have less to do with logic than with biochemistry. There is no story that can be broken that tells us why Owens might have taken those pills, no all-encompassing revelation that tidily accounts for his actions. "

and also, this piece:

When I heard Etheredge complain that the Dallas cops were "taking advantage of T.O." and insist that Owens "has 25 million reasons why he should be alive" (which shows a complete lack of understanding about the nature of depression, for starters), I have to confess I wanted someone to empty the contents of my stomach.

Great piece. And as someone who pulls for folks with mental illness, the outcasts, the kids who had a rough time, the forgotten of society, to make good, maybe I have to add TO to that list.

3 Comments:

Blogger ahavatcafe said...

Amen and Amen!

9:06 PM  
Anonymous feygele said...

*shakes head* I read this whole post trying to figure out the connection to T.O. (Toronto)...

10:50 PM  
Blogger Ruby K said...

Sorry Feygele, the title is a reference to a funny video commercial from a couple years back featuring Owens. Sorry for any cross border confusion.

12:44 AM  

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