The opening line of one report I read sums it up: "Not again."
But really, when I heard about Derek Boogaard's death, it was sad, tragic, shocking, but I'd never really heard of the guy. Then Rick Rypien, a little closer to home because he plays for a Canadian team. But again, sad, tragic, shocking, but never heard of him.
Wade Belak hits home. He's a former Leaf, and like I heard on the radio this morning, with Leafsnation, although you've never met them, you feel like you know the players. That's just the way it is with the most passionate sports fans in North America.
He was a funny guy. My dad and I always laughed when we were reminded of the joke he made: He said he's way better than Gretzky, because every time he scored, his team won. No, it didn't matter that he only scored eight goals in his career, he was 100%. Gretz couldn't say that.
I can't imagine what his wife and two daughters, six-years-old and eight, are going through right now. My thoughts and prayers are with them.
Now, I could blog about the fighting and the effects of it. I really could. Everyone's talking about it. And I agree it needs to be talked about. Same as the head shots, and all other violence in the NHL. And maybe one day I will do a piece on it. I mean, the NBA has tough guys, but none of them really fight with their fists.
But let me ask a different question: Why did society let this guy who was so loved by everyone, a guy that made millions, a guy who has "everything," lose hope?
Be hopeless enough to take his own life?
[Before I continue: I've been hoping like never before that Wade Belak did not hang himself. But I'm continuing this post assuming that he did. Some places have reported that. It looks a lot like that. It could come out that it wasn't suicide, and a small glimmer inside me wants that and hopes that is true. But I highly doubt it, so this post continues under the very tragic circumstances and sickening reality, even though I still believe in that 0.00001% chance that it's not true. [Update: It was confirmed soon after this went up that Wade Belak's death was a suicide. Just terrible.] Another "disclaimer": Sorry if this doesn't make much sense, just letting it all out at almost the same time I'm thinking.]
Jeremy Roenick said forget about the money. But I blog a lot about poverty, so I'm gonna talk about it.
Our world - the North American world - says that more money = more happiness = more options/future = hope.
Obviously not. Wade Belak made $9,000,000+ in the NHL, but he obviously had no hope left.
I've seen people living in shacks, with way, way more hope than this.
Wade was living the life. He was famous, rich and "happy." You're not supposed to be hopeless with that kind of life.
So, I come to this conclusion, the one I had years ago, the one I've always had, the one that proves itself to me time and time again:
Hope. True, real hope, only comes from God. I've seen the some bad, bad poverty. But because God was there, there was hope.
And another thought: Economic poverty is terrible. Don't get me wrong. But I think the very worst kind of poverty is the poverty where you have no hope, no faith, no love. That's the worst. Economic poverty is just a very common way to fall into this kind of poverty.
But you don't have to be poor, to suffer from this kind of poverty. In fact, the rich suffer from it just as much. Probably even more.
And the only solution?
The difference is Jesus.