Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sean Taylor, Rest in Peace

I would say that I am still in shock over Sean Taylor's passing. I, of course, heard the news yesterday and devoured every bit of information there was on the internet so I was prepared for the worst. Getting shot in the femeral artery is as unlucky as it comes and, as the woman on CNN said this morning, it's essentially like punching a hole in a pipe - you either put your finger on the hole or you bleed out. So I knew there was a very good chance that he wouldn't survive the attack.

That being said, I checked the WaPo last night before going to bed and there was positive news. I was very hopeful that one of my team's best players was going to make it. The paper said that Taylor had been responsive, squeezing a doctor's hand. So, when I turned on the TV this morning, I was definitely shocked to find that he had passed in the night.

And now, five hours later, I don't even want to think about it. Every story I read, every little bit that comes out, it just makes me sad and feel the pain of a loss that is not really personal but still hurts.

As fans, we create an artificial, emotional attachment with our teams and with the players we watch week in and week out. We love them and hate them and take what is probably an unhealthy interest in their lives. Even though I lived out of the US for most of Taylor's career and barely got to see him play, I still felt that attachment. He was one of my guys. He played his heart out. And yeah, he made mistakes both on the field and off the field, but I never wavered in my support. Everything was forgiveable because his gifts were too divine, his vision and athelticism too God-given, and the legend that I knew he would create would last forever.

It goes without saying that my grief is mixed with selfish disappointment. I won't get to see the "grim reaper" (a now, quasi-inappropriate nickname) destroy opposing wide receivers. I won't get to see Taylor team with Landry to form the most potent backfield of all time. And over the course of the next 6-8 years, I won't get to see the safety that in all likelihood would have gone down as one of the greatest, if not the greatest ever. Taylor was the Michael Jordan of safeties. And I'm intensely disappointed that he isn't going to be around to lead my team back to glory.

I know that this is tougher on his friends and family. I can't imagine what it must be like. And I can't imagine how the Redskins are going to play this Sunday. This loss is devestating on so many levels.

But I hope, and perhaps this is me just externalizing my own image upon his memory, but I hope that the Redskins respond much like I imagine Taylor would have if his place had been reversed and some other guy had gotten killed. That is to say, with quiet, stoic intensity. Maybe that's one thing I liked about the guy from afar. He didn't have to say a damn thing. He didn't care if the media liked him or if the public knew who he was. He was a football player. It was his job. He just brought it on the field each and every game. And that's how I hope the guys respond to this on Sunday and for the rest of the season. Bring it. Raw intensity. Honor his memory by playing the way he played. Destroy Buffalo and march to the playoffs. Because moments like these are either/or moments. You either respond or you don't. And I'd like to think that the Redskins will respond with heavy hearts, but with the best possible memories of Taylor's legacy.




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