Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Brady Quinn?! Brady Quinn!

On Sunday, Dec. 2, Brady Quinn went 19-of-23 for 201 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions against Carolina. It was his best game in more than three years, and probably more meaningful than his 21-of-33, 304-yards, four TD performance against the Lions on Nov. 22, 2009, as Quinn's team pulled out a victory this time around.

Quinn threw his first touchdown pass in almost three years while setting a career-high in completion percentage (82.6), but what people will remember more about the game is what Quinn did, or said, afterwards.

The senseless murder-suicide of Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher has affected many people, especially the families of Belcher and Kasandra Perkins and their daughter, who will grow up never knowing her parents but always knowing that her father killed her mother.

When tragedy strikes, especially in the sporting world, fans and pundits tend to come out with "puts sports in perspective" comments, which apparently upset Bob Costas enough that he came out against the second amendment on national television, at least according to Ted Nugent.

"You knew it was coming," said Costas at halftime of the Sunday Night Football game between Dallas and Philadelphia on NBC. "In the aftermath of the nearly unfathomable events in Kansas City, that most mindless of sports clich├ęs was heard yet again, 'Something like this really puts it all in perspective.' Well if so, that sort of perspective has a very short shelf life since we will inevitably hear about the perspective we have supposedly again regained the next time ugly reality intrudes upon our games. Please. Those who need tragedies to continually recalibrate their sense of proportion about sports, would seem to have little hope of ever truly achieving perspective...In the coming days, Jovan Belcher's actions and their possible connection to football will be analyzed. Who knows? ..... If Jovan Belcher didn't possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today."

The Noog is wrong (about many things, but also) about what Costas meant. Costas is not anti-gun ownership, he just wants a more meaningful discussion that will help prevent tragedies like this in the future.

Quinn's comments are a step in the right direction. The Chiefs quarterback not only put sports in perspective, but also how we interact with people. I was never a fan of Quinn (In my mind, he was always synonymous with overrated), but what he said was truly moving.

"The one thing people can hopefully try to take away, I guess, is the relationships they have with people," Quinn said. "I know when it happened, I was sitting and, in my head, thinking what I could have done differently. When you ask someone how they are doing, do you really mean it? When you answer someone back how you are doing, are you really telling the truth?

"We live in a society of social networks, with Twitter pages and Facebook, and that’s fine, but we have contact with our work associates, our family, our friends, and it seems like half the time we are more preoccupied with our phone and other things going on instead of the actual relationships that we have right in front of us.

"Hopefully people can learn from this and try to actually help if someone is battling something deeper on the inside than what they are revealing on a day-to-day basis.”

What an amazingly open, frank and honest answer. In one post-game comment, he showed us our shortcomings and what we need to do to improve upon them.

We have become a society that really doesn't care about the people around us, even though we like to pretend we do. How many times when someone asks you how you are doing, do you answer with "how are you doing?" I know I do it myself - I answer a question with the exact question that was just asked of me! "How are you" is now a new version of "hello," but it sounds politer because we are asking someone how they are doing, which is our way of showing we care without actually caring.

We tend to ask people how they are doing because it's the polite thing to do, not because we actually care about how they are doing. In fact, most of the time if their answer is anything more than the other EFF word ("fine"), we get annoyed that they are taking up our valuable time.

Which is not to say that Belcher's teammates would have been able to tell that something was amiss if they had taken the time to really ask how he was doing. It could be that there were Chiefs who did take the time to truly get to know Belcher but his walls were strong enough to rebuff their attempts. It could be that because of the "manly" culture of the NFL, Belcher hid his true feelings so as not to seem weak. It could be that Belcher strove to leave his baggage at the door, so to speak, so that he could focus solely on the game they play.

By all accounts, the Chiefs were doing everything they could to help Belcher with his off-the-field issues, although head coach Romeo Crennel said he had no knowledge of the fact that Belcher and Perkins had attended couples counseling through the Chiefs.

But it could be that Belcher didn't know that his teammates really cared about him, and his teammates didn't know that he needed someone to really show him that they cared about him.

Regardless, Quinn's words should inspire us to change how we interact with the people around us. When we ask someone how they are doing - let's not roll our eyes when they legitimately answer us. When we ask someone how they are doing - let's not keep looking at our cell phones to see if anyone liked our Facebook post.

You want someone to like what you do? Ask them how they are doing, and listen to their response.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Predictions will return next week when I'm not so flummoxed by Brady Bleepin' Quinn.

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