A bizarre, surreal, and tragic NFL weekend carried with it a very unexpected silver lining.
From this point forward, I have new respect for Chiefs quarterback Brady Quinn.
I don’t care about Quinn’s performance or the fact that the Chiefs won. Quinn’s post-game remarks were eloquent and heartfelt and they captured perfectly one of the things we risk losing as a society that communicates primarily in snippets of misspelled words and emoticons.
“The one thing people can hopefully try to take away, I guess, is the relationships they have with people,” Quinn told reporters after the game. “I know when it happened, I was sitting and, in my head, thinking what I could have done differently. When you ask someone how they are doing, do you really mean it? When you answer someone back how you are doing, are you really telling the truth?
“We live in a society of social networks, with Twitter pages and Facebook, and that’s fine, but we have contact with our work associates, our family, our friends, and it seems like half the time we are more preoccupied with our phone and other things going on instead of the actual relationships that we have right in front of us. Hopefully, people can learn from this and try to actually help if someone is battling something deeper on the inside than what they are revealing on a day-to-day basis.”
These are words that we should all study, and heed. I’ll be printing them out, keeping a copy on my desk, and reminding my son of Quinn’s thoughts whenever I can.
It’s impossible to know whether greater sensitivity by those around Jovan Belcher could have prevented Saturday’s events. Chances are it wouldn’t have mattered. But the lesson is that we should all be more attentive to the people whose lives are intertwined with ours, through our families or our friends or our places of work. We enter and exit this world alone, but we are in between those moments part of a broad and complex fabric that both provides us with support and commands it from us.
Let’s remember that the next time — and every time — we’re more worried about interacting with someone who isn’t in the room than someone who is.