I enjoy reading many of the articles in The Athletic, a sports website. They go far beyond the score and the thrilling plays to find the human beings. That’s what I’m interested in – how other lives can relate to mine, how there are lessons out there for me to learn.
Yesterday I read about Tyler Parsons, a 21-year-old prospect with the Calgary Flames hockey club. A couple of years ago, while I following the progress of the London Knights (my local junior hockey team), Tyler was the goalie. I loved seeing his spectacular saves and he seemed like a good person. And that’s where my pondering about him ended. But who knows what’s beneath the surface of our skin?
The article laid bare Tyler’s emotional life, with his blessing. It was so unlike the culture of male professional sports, where one need to be tough, without feeling, totally focused on achievement.
“I finally spoke up.” Indeed he did, and well done, young man. Here’s what he had to say:
I don’t want anyone to feel bad for me. I’m better now. But before all this happened, I thought mental health and all that stuff was a bunch of bullshit.
One thing builds into another. You start with a small issue, and it seems to just build up and build up and build up till it becomes physically and mentally painful.
Problems in your life are what molds you. I’ve been through so much in my life in such a short span that it grew me as a person.
If I wouldn’t have opened the doors and started talking, I wouldn’t be sitting in this chair right now doing this interview. I probably wouldn’t be playing hockey.
I’m not going to sit back here and hold it in when my words, my story, can change somebody else’s life. If I can help somebody get out of that state, possibly save their life … because there were many times when I was in that state that I didn’t want to be alive.
It seems to me that when the world is collapsing, it’s just ME … my feelings, my woes, my long victim-laden story. Tyler has found a way to spend time in US … empathy, kindness and compassion. May we all find this togetherness.