Let’s begin with good times. Just days after I posted about the loss of Biddy Basketball to our Wichita community, an anonymous donor stepped in to save the program, at least for one more year. Hopefully, this will give the program time to find true leadership, make changes to enhance the program, while still giving young people a chance to not only play the game, but to change their lives. There was a huge collective sigh among those of us who have grown up with the program. Huge.
Bad times. Dave Duerson, one of the mighty 1985 Chicago Bears, committed suicide last Friday at the age of 50. Not only had his life become troublesome and an ever-increasing burden with a divorce and bankruptcy, the 4-time Pro Bowl safety was suffering from CTE, a degenerative brain ailment that causes depression and dementia. Upon learning the news, all I could picture in my mind was a frightened, frustrated man who felt his only relief was to aim a gun at his chest and end his life. Before he took his life he requested his brain be donated to science.
Living with the loss of two friends to suicide, my heart breaks for his family and friends. I know what they will live with the rest of their days, the questions they will ask of themselves and each other, the rollercoaster of anger and grief.
In the days ahead, I will remember #22 as a significant piece of the Black and Blue, the kid from Notre Dame, and the player who was named NFL Man of the Year in 1987. But now, I think of Dave Duerson and just feel utter sadness for the man whose body betrayed him and sent him spiraling into darkness. God speed, Mr. Duerson. I hope you have found light and peace.