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True Power

" True power does not need arrogance, a long beard and a barking voice. True power is attained with silk ribbons, charm and intelligence"

- Oriana Fallaci in "Il Divo"

Sunday

Carpe Diem

     I know I have to do this. Reflect. Search for answers. Be honest. Raise awareness. But this shite really stresses me out. The drama. The old daze. What could've been.

     I returned home last night from a nice dinner w/ a couple friends at Andiamo's, an Italian bistro in Dearborn, Michigan.  It was 5:30 pm. Donnie Jones(punter) and Kyle Boller(quarterback), who play for the St Louis Rams, are in town to play the Detroit Lions on Sunday. I haven't seen Donnie since I coached him at LSU in 2004. This was my first time meeting Kyle. Solid cats. As expected, "Monty stories" flew around the table. Donnie had fun teasing Kyle about his various romances w/  Hollywood starlets. I winked at Kyle when I shared a few stories about Donnie while at LSU.

      As we settled into our dinner, I felt an all too familiar 'air' about the table.The night before a game. The pressure to perform. The constant checking and rechecking of the time. We were interacting, but the boys were 'distant'. Trying to relax and enjoy the meal, you could tell thier minds were busy. "What time's your meeting?' I asked.  "7:45" said Donnie. "Mine's at 7:30" quipped Kyle as he checked his phone for the third time. This really took me back. I've been there. I lived it.

       As you can imagine, anxiety is very common in professional sports. And athletes handle this in many different ways. Why the hell do we get so stressed out before games? This is supposed to be fun. You've got a couple kids making millions of dollars playing the game they love. And I get the all too familiar feeling that it's not. This led me to the topic of manic/depression and my desire to raise awareness of  mental illness. Bipolar Disorder. The importance of addressing the causes. Finding the gene(s). I explained to them that when I played, I did my best to block out the pressure. Pretend it wasn't there. But no matter how hard I tried, I always struggled with anxiety. Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves? For our teammates? For the fans,coaches, families or peers? As I shared my battles, I could tell they understood. They know. All the pressure. The money. The constant desire to prove ourselves. Wanting to succeed. Never wanting to let our teammates/coaches/fans down.

      The one message I tried share w/ them is that life's too short. It serves no purpose putting unnecessary pressure on ourselves. Getting up tight. Worrying if the coaches /management are happy with our performance(s). Relax and just do your job. Because that's all it is - A job. Let me ask you cats a question :

           "How many coaches, GM's have called me since I was cut in 1998? Fucking ZERO!"

       Go out and try to have fun. Anxiety is an epidemic, guys. Look around us.You can't watch 10 minutes of television without seeing an advertisement for some sort of new drug for depression. I tried to explain that we really need to step back for a minute. Look at the big picture. Realize that our minds are powerful. That we're in control of this. We have a choice. F*#k all the critics and just have fun. That's what I tried to do. I saw a glimmer in their eyes. I hope it helped.
 
      It's clear to me that in today's 'results driven society' plays a huge role in this perpetual  drama. Am I pretty? Am I too fat? Does he/she love me? Are my pants too tight? Reality shows, TMZ and E! If we could just slow down and get centered. We can't worry about things we can't control. It's fruitless. Give 100% and let the chips fall as they may. There's a saying -  "If you  have one foot in yesterday and one foot in tomorrow, you'll end up pissing on today". This really sums it up.  Focus on what you can control - the present. That's it. Freedom of choice. A choice to be happy. A choice to be sad. A choice to worry. My suggestion is to choose to stay in the moment and enjoy the ride.

Easy for me to say.


Carpe Diem

3 comments:

Margot said...

Well said Bro. I love you.
xo Sis

Anonymous said...

ditto.

xo Squirt

Melissa Carroll Doran said...

Greg...you're words are an inspiration to all, not just those with bipolar!!!
Glad to hear you're doing so well!!!

xo Melissa Carroll Doran