Dear Richard Sherman;
I don’t really know you, but I want to tell you I’m sorry.
Sure, you’ve played for my team, the San Francisco 49ers, for the past few seasons. You’re 5x All-Pro and a Super Bowl Champion with a team I love to hate, the Seattle Seahawks. You’ve made 484 tackles and intercepted the ball a whopping 36 times. And you’re really smart, too. Like, a complete scholarly genius who has a way with words that I’ve come to admire as a young writer.
You’re the reason I wanted to be a sideline reporter, actually.
And surprisingly, you’re the same age as my brother. A very young 33 years old. On the surface, your wisdom made me think of someone approaching their 40s. But age is really just a number, and you’ve proved that nothing is impossible in 33 years on this planet.
So truly, you’ve been my inspiration in nearly everything I do.
It’s been just over a week since the news broke about your arrest and as I write this laying in bed, post-second dose shivers and all, I’m frantically wiping the tears from my cheeks and hoping you’re okay.
You see, when the headlines popped up all over social media, I didn’t believe a word of what I was reading. It just all seemed far too out of character for someone like you. I tend to hold my favourite athletes to a higher standard, as if they have super powers and can’t ever feel the same pain that us regular folk do.
Boy, was I wrong.
And I’m writing this letter to you tonight because my heart is heavy thinking about what you’re going through in this moment.
I know I’m a little younger than you. It’s my 32nd birthday next week, yet all I can think about is how similar I’ve felt to that heartbreaking 911 call. Your wife’s voice shook me to my core. That feeling of not wanting to live anymore—to be reckless in such a way that you just don’t care if you survive a drunken crash or your own self-inflicting harm—is one of the loneliest feelings in the world.
I want you to know that I’m sorry you feel this way. I’m sorry that everything around you hurts so much that you don’t want to hold on anymore. I’m sorry that you felt like you weren’t enough.
But with every piece of my soul, I want you to know that you are.
Nearly five years ago to the date, I drove my car off a road at 120km/hour and nearly killed my friend, my dog, and myself. I was in-and-out of an abusive relationship, and rather than lean on my family and those around me, I suffered alone and drank myself silly every chance I could get. Car rides became more aggressive. Alcohol became my crutch.
And honestly, I just wanted my life to end because everything inside of my head just kept telling me I don't want to be alive.
We sometimes do reckless things when we’re in pain. Opening up to others about our demons can be too fucking hard when we’re really going through it. So we bottle it up and put it on the shelf, hoping that pain will slowly just go away.
Here’s the thing, though: we’re not meant to suffer alone. We were put on this earth to be social creatures who love and lift others. And, at times, we tend to forget that those around us are just the hand we need when everything else seems like it's falling apart.
I’m so thankful I didn’t die that day alongside one of my best friends and my precious doggo. And honestly, I’m incredibly thankful that those headlines didn’t read differently for you, too.
You may never read this. And that’s okay. But to every single person who feels like death is the only way out of whatever darkness you’re trapped in, I promise you…it’s not.
We may truly never know how you were feeling in that moment, Uncle Sherm. Hell, I still have my major downs, too, and when the world paints you in a certain light, it’s hard to press the reset button. I’m speaking from experience on that, as well. I’ll save that for another letter, though, because this one is for you.
I still think of you as one of the best corners in the league. Your Boom has not faded in my mind. If anything, I feel more connected to you than ever before.
Honestly, even super heroes fall down.
We all crumble every now and then, and that’s okay. It’s that next play that truly matters. And I know in the deepest part of my heart that you will rebound from this. We all do, only if we truly choose to.
Sherman, you’re only my brother’s age, and damn, you’ve got a whole life to live. There are so many of us here to metaphorically hold your hand when the weight of it all feels a little too heavy.
Because I promise you, you are enough.
xx – crys.