I posted an item several hours ago scrutinizing the comments of Jets coach Rex Ryan regarding his recent surgical procedure aimed at enhancing weight loss. Plenty of you took issue with some of the things I wrote.
I’ve read back over the article several times, searching for the precise language that objectively would constitute anything inappropriate or offensive. Though there’s nothing specific that crosses the line, I’ll agree that the overall tone was a bit too harsh.
That said, I disagree with the notion expressed by some that the article contains multiple “fat jokes.” Apart from the very first sentence, which was worded to be a somewhat sarcastic observation regarding the fact that the surgery entails the placement of a mechanical device around the patient’s stomach, there’s no “fat joke” in the entire article.
I’m sensitive to “fat jokes.” Though my batting average in avoiding them falls somewhere short of 1.000, I usually try to do my best to steer clear. And for good reason. A long time ago, I was the proverbial (and actual) “fat kid.” After 16 years of eating whatever I wanted and making the full range of excuses for being a heck of a lot bigger than I should have been, I decided that it was over.
Four months and 60 pounds later, it was. By the time I turned 17, I dropped from 225 to 165.
Thousands if not more of us have done a similar thing at one (or more) times in our lives. Few have the skill and intelligence of a man who becomes the head coach of a professional football team.
So, yes, it was a bit disappointing to see that a man with the ability to overcome incredibly long odds in his professional life was not able to lose weight without putting his life at risk via surgery. And it was also disappointing to see that same man talking openly — only eight days after the surgery — about the existence of ways to “cheat” the device that was attached to his stomach through the hole in his torso made by a scalpel.
Now that Rex has gone the lap-band route, I wish him well. Hopefully, he’ll be an example and an inspiration to others who want and/or need to lose 20, 40, 60, 80, 100 pounds, or more. The fact that he’s in a position to indeed inspire others should now be all the motivation he needs to demonstrate the discipline required to succeed in the face of this challenge.
But I just can’t set aside my own experiences when considering how much more of an inspiration Rex could have been if he had been able to successfully shrink himself the old-fashioned way — by reducing the calories consumed through eating and increasing the calories burned through exercising. Still, I realize that he spent years trying to do just that, and that he apparently underwent surgery as a genuine last resort.
If my disappointment in this regard was conveyed in a way that some of you found insulting to Rex, I apologize. We use a certain tone here to make our articles more entertaining, and this specific instance has helped me the better discern the subjects on which that tone should be set aside. Moving forward, I’ll be the first to congratulate Rex when he gets to his goal of 250 pounds, and to encourage him to consider going even lower than that once he gets there.