As I pulled out of my 9-to-5 parking lot in the dead of winter with a light yet blistery snowfall side swiping my mom van (boy is this turning into a depressing visual), I looked ahead toward the direction of my normal route home. The blue and red flashing lights of police cruisers combined with a long row of bumper-to-bumper traffic warned me to go a different direction if I wanted my trip home to be a little longer than normal, but not entirely unbearable.
Another crash on the side of the road.
Another person suffering inconvenience…hopefully in just their pride and pocketbook.
Another driver losing control on the icy roads and another getting struck without warning.
And, just like that, two (or more) lives were impacted for the worse.
I had begun my day by watching a video, produced and shared by The Players’ Tribune, about why Larry Sanders chose to leave the NBA.
Prior to watching that video, I didn’t know who Larry Sanders was. I mean, I recognized the name, but I wouldn’t have been able to pick him out in a room full of freakishly tall guys.
Now I find myself respecting this guy I do not know, not because of what he accomplished on the court in the past, but because of his present day perspective.
Sanders was chosen by the Milwaukee Bucks with the 15th overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft. In his most recent contract extension in 2013, he signed a four-year, $44 million deal with the Bucks. Let’s all pause and ponder what we would do with that kind of ridiculous money.
Then it appears he started to metaphorically lose control of his life path…or maybe he was never fully in control in the first place?
A couple of injuries, a couple of drug policy violations, a suspension, and a contract buyout.
A “crash” that no amount of ridiculous money could fix.
He understands that it was never his extreme athletic prowess or level of wealth that defined him. In his video message, he encourages everyone watching to “Don’t Forget The And…” meaning we are all more than just one thing, according to Sanders.
I am a mom AND a wife AND a writer AND a professional AND a kid-at-heart AND a dreamer AND a youngest child.
He talks about connecting to family, how he considers them his real riches, and why he walked away from such a lucrative career. He talks about how people like to use labels.
He stresses that 90 percent of the day is mental and how he turned to canibus to help him cope, and then went away to a hospital to help him with his anxiety and depression. He spoke of wanting to make a difference in this unseen world.
I needed to hear his message so I am passing it on in case any of you needed to hear it too.
If you didn’t exactly reach every success you set out to achieve this day, month, or year, I bet you met some. Luckily for all of us, life is not just a one-way trip.
We all steer off course.
We all crash and get crashed into.
We all regret and wish we could do over.
Just don’t remain on the side of the road. Get back behind the wheel and get back on course.
Written by Heidi Woodard