Have you ever taken the opportunity to sit down and talk with someone? Not about what they do but about who they are. Not about their wins, but what they feel they've loss and can never get back. There are many athletes who are winning on the field, but it seems that they're losing off the field. Many times we forget that athletes wasn't born playing sports. They are REAL PEOPLE.
They hurt, they bleed and they cry. Many young men have been hurt within their families. Hurt by the father they never knew. Hurt by the father who said he was coming and never showed up. Hurt by the father who told him he'd never be anything, called him a worthless loser and made him feel like he should have never been born. Some of athletes have been hurt physically by men- who wasn't their fathers.
Men who issued discipline but didn't want a relationship. Some witnessed violence in their home.
They say their mother's being beaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Some mothers were beat early in the morning and when their children returned home from school there was always a fear that any moment rage and violence could erupt.
IMAGINE being a child feeling hopeless and helpless because you can't be the protector everyone said you need to be since daddy left the family. IMAGINE living life on the run, not having a place to call your own, moving several times due to violence. Adjusting to new neighborhoods and schools. Trying to make new friends but not allowed to invite them to your home because of the low-income area you lived in.
IMAGINE being a male child and wanting to protect your mother from violent but not being able to intervene because mama didn't want you to get hurt. She knew that that her man wasn't too fond of children, but she stayed with him anyway.
IMAGINE not understanding why the family just couldn't leave and REALLY start over again. IMAGINE always hearing "No" and being angry that you had to stay. Not having enough food or basic needs met.
While not every athlete can testify to these issues some can. Perhaps, no one has had the time to sit down and listen to their stories. And rather than exploit them seek to provide hope, help and healing.
Would you agree that some of our athletes are hurting? How can we stop the bleeding hearts?
The pain of the past can torment a person. It can produce low self-esteem, insecurity, anger, violence, substance abuse, imprisonment, identity theft and arrested childhood development. If there is no healing it can become a way of life and pattern. While violence, poverty, broken families, absentee father, drug addiction etc. may have been part of ones past history it doesn't have to be part of the future.
If what we're doing today has the power to negatively impact and destroy our tomorrow we must find another way. Choose to identify where we are, understand what the needs are and determine which options can best facilitate healing from the inside out, forgiveness and reconciliation within ourselves.
The power of healing from within is that it makes us whole. It causes us to ask for forgiveness from those we may have hurt along the way and be willing to forgive those who hurt us as well.