A Different Kind of Loss :My Friend, L.C. Greenwood
I was in Dallas when I got a text from Alby Oxenreiter asking if I was in Pittsburgh. I thought he wanted a comment on the Steeler’s loss against the Vikings. The next one was from Mike Wagner “L.C. is gone”. The lump was instantaneous and my eyes welled as I tried to catch my breath. What do you mean L.C. is gone? I just saw him before he went in to the hospital and although he was in some pain, he was still L.C. ‘Hey Juice”, he said in that low baritone voice of his, ‘how they hanging’!
In a fog, others added their condolences and I nodded blankly with a cursory thank you but my mind was racing to those years long before.
I was six months L.C.’s senior and our lives intersected for 43 years, 11 of those as teammates. He stood as a beacon in that array of destructive mayhem known as the Steel Curtain. A laid back gentlemen from Mississippi, accustomed to hard work and the segregation of the South. Yet as in all ballplayers the equality of life was played on a 100 by 52 yard gridiron and the only thing that matter was whether you won or lost and nothing else.
I can hear his chuckle, distinctive as it was, playing second fiddle to Dwight White as ‘Mad Dog’ would belittle his opponent. “Fats” would chime in with a well-timed grunt as Joe held court reassuring the boys “let’s just do our job”!
They stood tall, those four, gold shoes and all, shoulder to shoulder to dominate the NFL for all time. Now there is only Joe, who started it all, carrying the mantle of days gone by and the souls of his brothers that made it happen.
I will miss you ‘my brother’ and thanks for being my friend...
"This is Life" Lecture
Well, it’s “back to school time”…and being the father of two teenage girls is tough enough but getting everyone excited about school, out the door in the morning & studying every night…well, I dread it! It’s not that I don’t love them and want to help them, I do. It’s just the different roles a parent has to assume during these budding, insecure, emotional, uncertain, moody years that I’m not quite sure how to deal with. Thank God for my wife.
Of course I have a responsibility as well, so I decided to play the father role and give them my “This is Life Lecture”. I said “girls listen up…we all have problems, they just change with time, and we’ve all make mistakes, it is just trying to learn the lesson of those mistakes that sometimes takes longer than needed, so I am going to give you the value of my years whether you like it or not.” Here it goes…
No one cares: No one cares if you are in a bad mood, or you are cranky, or stayed up too late – you still have to show up on time, do what you’re supposed to do and be where you said you would be or you are the Jerk!
People will just disappear. One day they will like you and won’t be able to get enough of you and the next day they will be gone. You will never hear from them again. It won’t matter if you tell you miss them or say you are sorry, they won’t come back and there is nothing you can do about it. So get over it!
No one can make you happy except yourself. People may make you feel good in lots of different ways, but at the end of the day, you have to be able to sit alone for a while and like the person hanging out with you.
Complaining without doing anything is really, really pointless. Sure, vent sometimes, but then get over it or do something about it. This entire planet is made up of people who have been hurt and rejected and sad and angry at some point in time and we all have to learn to deal with it.
Be yourself. Pretending to like bands, movies, books, TV shows, boys, girls, cars, sports or anything else just because everyone else is doing it is DUMB. If you like blowing on the tuba and playing WII games go on with your bad self. I promise you that you are a lot happier than anyone who makes fun of you for being you.
Life is too short to waste your time with people who aren’t honest or respectful of your feelings. We are all selfish, that’s human nature, but sometimes we go back to people who are just using us. We go back to people who never really ask about us or listen when we have something to say. Learn to walk away from these people after a certain amount of time without change. Some people just don’t deserve to be in your life.
If you mess up, it’s okay. Almost everything you do can be worked out. Some days that’s harder to accept than others, but I know you will be okay and that all you have to do is learn from what has happened in your life and be a better person because of it.
When I was finished I was quite proud of myself. I thought I got my points across in a succinct, organized manner but as I looked at my girls they sat there with this bored opaque look and with a roll of their eyes dismissed me as the father I am, and in my own insecurity I know they would prefer to deal with their mother than me. What was rule #3 again?!