No, I'm not talking about some boss in some dungeon. There are times when life is shown to be bigger than this 'game'. Yesterday was one of those days.
I live near Nashville. I moved to Tennessee the same year that the Oilers moved from Houston to Tennessee. If I'd gotten a dollar for every time someone asked me "are you following the Oilers?", well it probably would have paid for the U-haul truck. But no, I was following my mom and just starting over in my life. But the Oilers had recently given me a reason to be happy that I was moving to the same place that they were. It was Steve McNair. He really hadn't played very much by the time I left late in 1996(he was drafted in 1995), but we knew he was going to be good.
And good he was. Even great at times. He was everything I loved about football and he was what I expect out of people. He loved life. He gave back. He never complained. He never wanted the credit for the good but always took credit for the bad. He played no matter what. His heart was as big as Nashville and his smile was as wide as Tennessee. Yes, I cursed him when he defected to our hated rivals in his final years, but I still loved him.
Yes, I met him once. We went to one training camp practice day back in 1999. It was a very hot August day, but Steve, out of all of those that came over to the fans, stayed and signed for everyone that was there. I still have that card. And the two jerseys(Oilers and Titans), the bobblehead, the action figures. And I was excited to know that after retiring, he was coming back to Nashville to live. And I am shocked that it is over so soon.
So many people I find lately who think it is all about them at all times. I mean, the jerks who obviously don't care about anyone but themself and continue to shoot fireworks until late in the night-do they think everyone else in the neighborhood cannot hear them? But they don't care about anyone else. And the people in game who think their fun is more important than MY fun. Really? Would you block off all of the other checkout lanes in the grocery store so everyone else can't check out because you think it's funny? No, whether it is the internet or being in a vehicle, people just think they can get away with whatever they want to do, regardless of the consequences-because usually there are no consequences. And for some reason, so many people in this world have gotten in their heads that it really doesn't matter how what they are doing affects other people, so they will just do what they want. It's all me, me, me. Sometimes I feel like I am the only person left with a conscience.
Sorry for that ramble, but Steve was not one of those people. And with all of the celebrity deaths in the past week, I am saddened by this one the most. Because Steve wasn't really a "celebrity", regardless of how many people knew who he was and the stage he played on. Steve was Superman and Clark Kent at the same time. Steve was a true hero when most sports figures really should not be.
I'm going to miss you Steve. I still can't believe this has happened. I had hoped to wake up this morning to find it all a bad dream. But it wasn't. And I will be sad for a long time.
Photos from the memorial for Steve at LP field on July 9.