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My Reaction to Sean Taylor's Death

Sean Taylor, a superstar on my favorite team, the Washington Redskins, was shot in his house early yesterday morning and succumbed to his injuries early this morning. He had some troubling incidents several years ago but after his daughter was born 18 months ago he started to turn his life around. He was becoming one of the best players in the NFL but it all came to an end at just 24 years of age.
I've been confronted by death all too much in the last few months. It started at the end of August when my grandfather passed away. Several weeks ago, a stretch began where two of my church members died within a two weeks of each other. As crazy as it sounds, Taylor's death has been deeply emotional for me. Not as much as those I knew and loved, but it's not too far away. Let me explain why.
I've been a huge Redskins fan for as long as I can remember. My dad wasn't a big fan so I don't know what made me obsessed with the Redskins, and sports in general, but I've never missed more than a couple of games in a season. Today, the Redskins have become my escape. The pressures of life can be overwhelming and while my faith in God is the primary way I survive, the Redskins also provide a nice diversion from the pressures I face every day. I read about the Redskins every day and watch all their games because I need a break from the realities of the pain, suffering, and death that is all around me not to be confronted by it again.
It's also been hard because the players are like my extended family. I know it sounds ridiculous to those of you who aren't into sports but ask any huge sports fan and they will tell you they feel that way about "their team." I also often joke that the Redskins are the second denomination I'm a member of with the players, coaches, and fans being the church members. It really is an exaggeration but whatever team you are a fan of you feel part of a larger family. When you talk about the team you say "we" as though you get out their on the field with them or are part of the personnel decisions. Taylor was that younger brother who frustrated you by his immaturity early on but was glad he was starting to put things together.
The worst part about it all is thinking about an 18 month old baby who won't grow up with her father. Chick Hernandez, a local sports reporter, would choke up every time he talked about his own children and how this little girl wouldn't know her dad. I couldn't help but cry either. Unfortunately, it's a story that is repeated all too often and hopefully this higher profile situation will help communities figure out ways to stop the senseless killing and violence of young men who won't be able to be a father to their children.
The games will go on and no one knows how the players and coaches will respond on the football field. They are in the midst of the playoff chase which doesn't seem that important anymore. However, I need as many weeks of escape I can get so I'm hoping they rally together and make a strong run. Ultimately it's not that important, but here's hoping they can provide a few more weeks of joy to the Redskins family.


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