The Walk of Life

I’ve considered mortality a lot recently. And maybe more importantly, unsolicited kindness. I lost my stepbrother a year and a half ago. I was hit by a car a couple of months later. And it was a series of events that made me think a lot about how we arrived here and where we are going.

This week, awful human being Clay Travis almost certainly ghost wrote a blog post on FoxSports.com so that he could have an excuse to be misogynistic. Over the course of the last 5-10 years, that’s what “sports” radio and blogs have become – a place to compartmentalize and a place to blanket people with adjectives so the host or writer can foster a culture of hate and angst in order to “move those dials.” It’s gotten more disgusting with each passing day. There was certainly a time when I allowed myself to be fueled by it, but as I’ve grown more and more detached, it’s just become sad and embarrassing.

So that brought back a lot of introspection. Why do we allow people to continue to speak to people like this? Why do we think it’s cute when Clay Travis encourages his audience to call him a “gay Muslim?” How can anyone with any pride encourage this type of behavior? In 2015?

I’ve thought about it a lot recently.

On Sunday, I awoke to the news that my friend Greg from Pelham had passed away. I’m not certain that I ever knew Greg’s last name. But I know this about Greg: when I was fired on March 11, 2009 from a media climate that wasn’t yet sure what it was evolving into, Greg from Pelham tried to get me a job at the Wal-Mart in Pelham where he worked. This guy that only knew me through conversations off-air at a radio station reached out to me while I was struggling to pay my bills and did everything that he could to help another human being. My colleagues didn’t do that, people that I thought cared about me. But Greg, a man that I barely knew, did.

Absolutely nothing was superficial about Greg, and the guy that you heard call into our radio program was the guy that he actually was. He authentically cared about people, he loved his kids and his “grand-tigers” and he loved Auburn football.

Greg was everything that was right about the sports radio world that we were trying to foster when I was doing it. He didn’t reduce people to dismissive adjectives to make himself feel better or to create conversation. He offered encouragement to everyone around him. He lifted people up. He laughed. A lot. And he enjoyed every single minute that he was given.

He and I had an exchange just a few weeks ago. I told him that I loved him, and he returned the sentiment. And over his last few days, I could see that he was enjoying family. That he was enjoying life. The same way that he would have way back when he was sitting in his garage for eight hours, smoking cigarettes and listening to “us boys.” I take comfort in knowing that.

War Eagle, Greg. I learned a lot from the time I was able to spend with you and I’m eternally grateful.

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