One of the things that I love to do is read. Give me a good suspense novel and I may disappear for a few hours. Getting a Kindle has really helped me with this. As much as I love to read I love the Steelers even more. Anyone who knows me in the slightest knows that I am a die hard black and gold fan, probably to an annoying degree.
As a fan, and all fans do this, we love to sit around and give our arm chair analysis. We watch the games and pick out weaknesses in our favorite team. We look at players and point out who is doing well, who sucks, who doesn’t have what it takes. We nitpick at stats to see who can give us an advantage. With the advent of fantasy football, we take this arm chair analysis to whole new level. Taking players and boiling them down to simple numbers. As the sports phrase goes “Stats don’t lie”.
Recently, I read an article on Huffington Post about a former Steelers player. For me this was a perfect marriage, reading and the Steelers. The article, found here Rashard Mendenhall ,
in summary is about Rashard Mendenhall and his retirement. It was incredible to read and really get to see a player as a person. I remember being critical of Mendenhall in past seasons when he was a Steeler. Commenting on how terrible he was doing and how the Steelers needed to get rid of him. After reading the article I gained a deeper appreciation not just for the player but the man, the man behind the face mask.
It’s easy to throw stones when the target is behind a face mask, or when a co-worker isn’t there, or a friend that lives far away. Too often we criticize people, boil them down to good and bad, agree or disagree. I see this with the President, politicians, family members, co-workers and “friends”. We forget that there is a human there, that they have feelings.
As someone who blogs I can truly appreciate the amount of vulnerability that it took for Mendenhall to write out why he retired. He didn’t have to. He could have faded away and not said a word. I think he wanted to show us that he’s human, that under the pads and behind the face mask there was a man with a beating heart and a soul. We don’t see them as someone with a family, with life choices to make or with their own set of problems. We put on blinders and think we’re the only ones with issues or in a difficult situation. Too often we forget, too often we boil people down to stats and categories. From the President, to Rashard Mendenhall, to the neighbor and even your own kid, we’re all humans. We all have lives, joys, trials, tears and smiles. Thanks for the reminder Rashard Mendenhall.