Football has been the topic of nearly every conversation I’ve had lately. That’s due in part to the fact that Altrusa International of Hermiston is hosting author Charles Martin for our One Book One Community read this week. The novel we chose to read is Martin’s A Life Intercepted, the story of football darling Matthew “The Rocket” Rising, who is falsely accused of rape and sent to prison.
Martin’s story isn’t really about football, although there is a lot of football in the book. The story is, ultimately, about forgiveness. Something we all have to work on in our lives, if we ever hope to be a better people. I admit I’m struggling a lot with the issue of forgiveness lately.
Well, not even lately. I struggle with it all the time. Or maybe I don’t struggle with it at all and that’s the problem.
Anyway, there has been a lot of talk about football and sports and leadership and disappointment and shaping young people’s lives and how hard it is to live out forgiveness.
Now there is news of a kid in Murfreesboro, Tennessee (a town where I have spent a great deal of time) who beat his football coach to a pulp because the kid claimed the coach “disrespected” him.
For the love of all things holy.
The coach, Ron Aydelott, suffered serious facial injuries and will have to undergo surgery. He was transported to Vanderbilt Hospital in nearby Nashville. Aydelott has been a coach at Riverdale High School for the past 10 years.
The unnamed student (minor at 17) had not been on the football team in the past, but was in the coach’s office to turn in paperwork with the hopes of making the team. Some verbal exchange happened between the coach and kid, the kid felt “disrespected” and began to whale on the coach.
The student reportedly had not been a problem prior to the attack.
He just went bonkers.
Just like that.
And everyone else is left to wonder, what in the world is the matter with people today?
I don’t have any answers for you. Well, maybe I do, but spouting them just makes me feel old, so I’ll refrain. Besides, you are probably thinking some of the same thoughts as me anyway.
It is so odd, though, to think when Tim began his teaching career, I never worried about my husband going to school. It seemed the safest place in the world to me.
That is no longer the case.
I worry as much as I would if he were in law enforcement.
And, okay, I’ll make this one observation: I think that a large part of what we are seeing is the result of a culture that taught people, “Just do it.” Whatever it is. Act on your emotions, go with your gut.
No need to employ your brain, or act reasonable.
We traded reason for emotion, not realizing they could abide in concert within us if only we’d discipline ourselves better. Not let ourselves become enslaved to either emotion or reason.
If you are in the area, join us at Eastern Oregon Higher Education Center at 7 p.m. Wednesday (tonight) to hear Charles Martin. Armchair Books will be on hand selling copies of Martin’s work. This event is free and open to the public. Sponsored by Altrusa International of Hermiston and Hermiston’s Altrusa Literacy Committee.
For more information on Charles Martin, check out his website at charlesmartinbooks.com
For more information on Altrusa International of Hermiston, check out Altrusa.com