November 26, 2008

RIP #21

I don't cry. I haven't shed tears through the funerals of close friends and family members. But a year ago I cried. And cried some more. When Sean Taylor died I lost someone who was a part of my family.

I watch the Redskins every week; devote hours to news, stats, and everything Redskins. When Sean Taylor died it struck very near to home. I was at school and my friend texted me at nine in the morning, telling me Taylor had been shot. The rest of the day felt so strange. My brother had been shot.

I prayed that he hadn't been involved in anything criminal. I just wanted him to be innocent and recover. Innocent he was; recover he would not.

I went to a Caps game the night he had been shot, but everyone there could only talk about Sean. It was the saddest I had felt, but we all thought he would pull through.

Unfortunately I woke up the next day to learn that Sean had passed early that morning. I was shellshocked. To have something so close to you taken away was unreal. Sean was a football player in the prime of his career. When do they end up with their lives cut short?

I couldn't help but cry. Sean represented everything I loved; my team, my city. He was one of my boys that went out there every Sunday, but no longer.

However, Clinton Portis brings him along to every game. He wears a Sean Taylor T-shirt under his jersey, allowing Sean to be out there for every moment. Santana Moss flashes the #21 after big plays and everyone still admits they play for Sean.

I still think about him often. In retrospect I really believe he was turning his life around. Though his death haunts me, I am overjoyed to know that he died defending his family rather than being shot by a bouncer at some nightclub in Vegas. He died a good death and that's what we all really want isn't it?

In a time where every story in the NFL seemingly focuses on trials, crimes, and thuggery, it is truly refreshing to hear the Sean Taylor story. There is so much heartache in the story for me and yet there is a hint of triumph as well.

The Redskins will be adding Taylor into their Ring of Fame this Sunday against the New York Giants. This will undoubtedly be an emotional event and I'm just hoping that Sean will throw in a little help from above to ensure a Skins victory.

RIP #21. You will always be in my thoughts. And I'm still crying