Saturday, March 4, 2017

The shock of death, Part 3

As far as other sports go, I'm at that age where it will always be a surprise when someone passes away. There is somewhat of a huge shock factor, but it depends on the person and how they did in their sport.

I was pretty young when there was a number of 90s deaths in auto racing and seeing some of the improvements in NASCAR cars following the sudden death of Dale Earnhardt. With all the safety improvements in the cars and tracks, the reduction in fatalities has been very noticeable. The last time I thought was very shocking was Formula 1 racing. While I don't follow it, it was still a surprise to hear about a 2011 race and driver Dan Wheldon passing from injuries he sustained. However, that doesn't mean that the number of deaths in auto racing will be reduced to zero any time soon. Looking up the lists, there is bound to be either something freakish or something that you wouldn't think would end with someone not being able to get out of their car.

Airplane travel is pretty much standard for all sports, no matter what. Similar to auto racing, improvements have been made to ensure safety of all passengers, including any sports team. It doesn't however mean that everything will be perfect. There was the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey team in 2011 in which the entire group was killed in a crash. You want extreme shock, there's the 1972 plane crash carrying a Uruguay rugby team. While not everybody passed, some of them resorted to cannibalism just to stay alive in the Andes mountains along with finding any warmth in the cold mountains for over two months. We're a far cry from years past, and hope others make sure pilot error or technical issues decrease more.

American football is an interesting tale of the tape. Some of the stories include what happens to former players and ones when they were on active rosters. The 1994 San Diego Chargers had big sufferings, losing a few of their players from their Super Bowl team in a four year span. The shocking one involved linebacker Junior Seau in 2012. He was only a few years into retirement when he decided to commit suicide. Unfortunately, he was far from the first player to contemplate this. Lots of analysis have looked at concussions and head issues which the NFL has tried to address. While it's a step in the right direction, there are times where their intentions are not executed well. For ones that were active at the time, it's things like Jerome Brown, Derrick Thomas, and a few others that make it hard to believe they were gone and were people that meant something to their teams.

I'll end this by saying we're going to still be shocked by a death, whether we know someone or not. Seeing someone go away will always bring out a wave of emotions. You simply have to live life to the fullest and to enjoy a fruitful one. There will always be ups and downs, but it shouldn't let you down, even in the darkest hours. Make the greatest moments through all of your life and not just through one period of time.

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