Southeast Missouri State University student publication

A revelation through a tragedy; for the non-sports fans who are grieving

Wednesday, January 29, 2020
Hannah Radden

I only ever played basketball for four years out of my life and I probably never made a single shot during those games. Due to my boyfriend's interest in sports, I recently was taught how to play 2K on a PS4.

Still, I am in no way shape or form an intellectual in the sports world. Nor could I tell you who played last night or who scored what. But what I can recognize is the love people have for their passions and how people can be so impacted by a hero.

I can name all kinds of musicians, songs, and word for word lyrics; because that is my passion in life. I have a poster of the Million Dollar Quartet on my wall (Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis). Even though they weren’t my generation, they had an impact on my music and my life.

For basketball, I can name three or four players off the top of my head; Michael Jordan, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.

If a non-sports fan such as myself knows these names, they have to have some importance and be impactful for someone.

I can recall many times in my life where someone would rip out and crumble a crisp white piece of paper from their class notebook. They would hold the wad in their hands, fake right then left and make that winning shot in the trash can shouting “KOBE.” In that moment, you could only hear the sound of cheers and the squeaks coming from the rubber on the bottom of the shoes on the tile floor.

I, personally, didn’t know what the name “Kobe” meant for a while. I knew he had to be a legend with that kind of power and connection to kids from all walks of life. Kobe Bryant had a passion and used it to impact people.

Bryant was a father, an idol and an amazing basketball player. He was a human being who always wanted everyone to push themselves and be successful. That mentality in a person reminds me of something a friend, a family member or a favorite mentor might be for someone else.

You don’t have to be a sports fan, an NBA enthusiast, alive in his generation or even a player yourself to know that Kobe Bryant had an impact on many people. He was a player with passion and drive to one day be the greatest. He taught many to shoot for the stars so that one day, they too could be the best with enough practice.

When we see people push and strive for their dreams, we want them to succeed. Having someone share their passion and true talent with the world is breathtaking. He chose a profession that he loved, and worked hard daily to perfect his craft. That’s what we all want for ourselves, isn’t it? To know that what we have been doing all this time is setting us up for success after success.

The death of Kobe Bryant has had an effect because his life showed that time is valuable and you should always be the best you can be.

You don’t have to personally know someone to feel grief for them and their family. All you need to know is that someone lost something and can’t get it back.

We wake up each morning thinking we will see our white painted ceilings the next day, knowing we will take that step out of bed and start the day.

Life is a mystery. We are just trying to find clues along the way to keep us going.

The message in all of this is that you don’t have to be a sports fan to know what happened Sunday morning was catastrophic. What we should take from this is to always hold on to life with strength and take charge.

In life, we as humans seem to go through just wanting to play it safe. If you could pause your life right now, would you be happy and feel accomplished where you are now? I know I wouldn’t.

Don’t start your life tomorrow, do it now. Get out of that “bubble wrapped” comfort zone and do the things you said you never would. Text that person and tell them how you feel. Walk a mile, then two, then three. Put on the shirt tucked way in your closet that you have been too afraid to wear. Say “I love you” more. Let go of that grudge from 6th grade (I’m trying Lisa) and so much more. What’s the wait?

We need to stop wasting time on the clock with negatives and fill it with positives. Make changes in your life that will make you the legend for yourself. Be the person you would want to see on that poster on your wall. Treat your life with respect and gratitude and take nothing for granted.

Crumble up that paper of goals, and take a shot at life into that bin. You may miss or you may make it, but never give up.

I may not be a sports fan, but I am a fan of people pursuing their goals in life.

My condolences go out to the nine members who lost their lives in the crash Sunday morning and to their families.