“I’d rather be lucky than good.”
My Uncle Pat often used that phrase in his all too short life. Little did I know it was actually New York Yankee’s pitcher Lefty Gomez who came up with the idiom I would grow to live by. I’ve been a writer since I could hold a pencil in my hand-and was often caught writing my own stuff in class; and while it often got me in trouble with the teachers, I sure am glad that I did it. In winning this award, I think my Uncle Pat would be proud of me when I say-I’d rather be lucky AND good. Uncle Pat was full of wisdom, and he never backed down from sharing it. He was the best Broncos fan I ever knew, and made sure my brother and I were swift in our allegiance. If I know anything about sports, it’s because Uncle Pat inspired me and my brothers and sisters took the ball and ran with it to make sure I fully understood whatever stats we were discussing.
In early January, I was notified by Yahoo!/Associated Content that I was a finalist for the PMA Content of the Year Award for an article I wrote in September about the suicide of Denver Bronco Kenny McKinley at the age of 23. McKinley was far too young to leave this Earth by taking his own life, and though we will never know the depths of his pain-perhaps his tragic death will shed some light on how badly access to mental health care needs to be increased. I believe at times we all need a mental tune-up. Therapy is nothing to be ashamed of-avoiding problems, however, is. It is a tough world, jobs are scarce, people live in constant fear; what we really need to do is embrace each other.
I am so blessed to have an incredible support system, and I would be remiss not to thank my best friends, siblings and their spousal units for their constant support of my writing, never letting me quit and always watching games with me; Michaela, Manny, Teresa, Kathleen, Jenny, Luke, Jeff, Sarah (Gertrude), Erica, Cory, Marty, Johnson (Steve), Erin (Karen), Micah (Doug) and my niece Stephanie (who we are proudly making a sports lover.) I had the joy of learning from three teachers who inspired me greatly and helped me discover I could be anything I dreamed of being-Ms. Coleman, Mr. Madison and Madame Casey. Also thank you to my own emotional mechanic, McG, who tunes me up when the screws are getting a bit loose. Most of all my parents-Becky and John-my dad’s spiritual support and unconditional love is something I’m incredibly grateful for; and I know how lucky I am to have him as my daddy. My mother is the woman who never let me falter and even when I stumbled, would be right there to help me dust myself off and encourage me to keep on keeping on. She has been my rock all of my life and I don’t know what I would do without her.
I wish Kenny McKinley had my mom, I wonder if the lessons she taught us could have saved him. Mom raised us to believe above all, and no matter what, we were loved. That, along with a somewhat deranged loyalty to Denver Sports teams, is a gift I hope to pass on to my children. It is my wish that anyone who feels alone, isolated or otherwise troubled seek help. Talk to a teacher, a doctor, a friend, a member of the clergy-anyone-just talk to someone who will listen and know that none of us are alone. We need not lose one more person to suicide if we just reach out to one another.
“Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.”
– T.H. Thompson and John Watson
Tags:2010 Yahoo! Contributor Awards Acceptance Speech: Content of the Year