Whether It’s The Good, The Bad or The Ugly, Life is Precious
Life is not fair, however, life is beautiful. It can come at you in many different ways, both good and bad, but in the end, it is something to cherish and live to the fullest.
In Jeff Passan’s ESPN article San Francisco Giants outfielder Drew Robinson’s remarkable second act, Drew Robinson realizes both realities throughout his lifetime. Growing up was not easy for Drew, as his parents went through a bad divorce. Kids are supposed to be nurtured and put in an environment where parents can thrive in raising them, but this was not the case for Drew. He constantly thought about why people loved him and doubted whether he was worth it or not because he thought he wasn’t worth it for his parents to stay together. He had an on-and-off again relationship with a girl named Daiana who he met in high school. He once told her, “I don’t know why you like me.” They were engaged at one point, but Drew broke it off after not being able to make peace with himself and learn it’s okay not to be okay. After signing with the San Francisco Giants, his third team in four years, Drew was losing hope and going through the same struggles his brother Chad went through in his professional baseball journey, which was not being able to crack a Major League Baseball roster and stay in the big leagues. With the combination of being someone who was in a bad mental state, being isolated from everyone in the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic and missing Daiana when she wouldn’t let him see her dog, he pulled the trigger with the gun against his head. After 20 hours of waiting to die, he called 9–1–1 to take him to the hospital and try to save his life. He is living with some major consequences from the suicide attempt, such as a missing eye and his loss of taste and smell, but for Drew, it took being on the brink to truly realize how much he wants to live. Since his suicide attempt, he has spoken about his mental health history, has opened up more and has a whole new outlook on life, making him truly realize how life is something to take advantage of while he’s still here.
Kurt Streeter doesn’t fight mental health battles in his story Which Way, Richmond? Which Way, America? Instead, he talks about how the community he grew up in shows too much of an appreciation for a controversial past. Growing up in a place that celebrates people who fought for slavery bothered him, especially since he’s half African American. He reminisces seeing a statue of Confederate General Stone Wall Jackson being put up in Virginia. He believes there should be a street named Arthur Ashe Boulevard, named after the famous African American tennis player. Streeter was frustrated and disgusted about people like Jackson and Robert E. Lee getting celebrated with statues and constant praise, but a man who is the only African American to win a singles tournament at Wimbledon, the Australian Open and the U.S. Open not being celebrated is outrageous. How could a state celebrate men who fought for slavery, but not one who made history for African Americans? Instead of giving into the unfairness, Streeter kept pushing to make Arthur Ashe Boulevard a reality. After the idea was shot down multiple times, an 8–1 council member vote at city hall made Streeter’s dream a reality. Streeter was the change he wanted to see in the world.
Bryan Burrough’s Shooting a Tiger offers this conflict of person versus animal. Humans are told to be thankful for what they have and to enjoy life. However, some people’s self- interests put animals before humans. They have this interesting quality about them where they value an animal’s life potentially before their own. Jerryl Banait, a young doctor, is one of these people. India has a massive population of 1.3 billion people, but not a lot of land to incorporate that many people, let alone tigers. Even though 80,000 tigers were killed between 1875 and 1925 in India, the overpopulation of tigers and limited habitats often led to some roaming the streets and causing civilian havoc. Banait was able to make history though as one of, if not the first, people to successfully sue to stop a kill order, a decision made after a court determines if a certain tiger is too much of a threat to the subcontinent. Although the tiger goes on to kill two others and injured an additional person after breaking free, Banait still fights to stop the second kill order, but it was denied. A race still occurs to catch this tiger. One group has tranquilizer darts and an elephant to raise their shooting level to give an advantage along with a loaded gun. The other had just tranquilizer darts. The tiger activists have just the tranquilizer darts. The tiger ended up being killed, but people were annoyed, even though the tiger killers did try tranquilizer darts first. Thirty-three cities across 11 countries had protests. Even though tigers had a shortage of a habitat they could call their own, people still wanted them to live, even though they could present a danger to humans by running loose. It’s similar to Harambee back in 2016. People were upset with his death because many didn’t think lethal force was essential in this instance. Even if Harambee did injure the young boy, it’s possible there would still be protests in favor of the gorilla as there were with the tigers.
Joshua Hammer Chaos at the Top of the World shows compassion during a life-threatening emergency and teaches one to reach for the stars, but know your limits. Reinhard Grubhofer, the man climbing Mount Everest, was stuck on his way down and ran out of oxygen during a nap. He questioned himself as to whether he could actually make it to the top of the mountain. The dead bodies he saw around him was almost a foreshadow as to what he was supposed to do, which was turn around. The adrenaline and the accomplishment of climbing the world’s tallest mountain was too much to overlook. Dendi Sharpa said if he didn’t give an extra supply of oxygen to Grubhofer, he would’ve died. He was lucky to be alive and he knew it. His teammate, Ernst Landgraf, was not as lucky and died on the way down the mountain.
All of these stories either teach people to appreciate life or keep fighting through the bad times to get to the good ones. This relates to what the whole world is going through right now. The pandemic has caused sickness, death, global economic problems, and mental health problems and suicide rates to increase. Although mask-wearing and social distancing is something everyone is fatigued from at this point, it’s a reminder to be thankful for not suffering from the virus and to continue to fight. With vaccines being approved and rolled out across the world, it’s a reminder to Americans to stop the spread. Dr. Fauci and many other scientists and doctors keep saying help is on the way to get life back to normal. It indirectly tells people to stay strong. All of these stories should be adapted to some sort of multimedia because of the messages they convey. The Drew Robinson story is already a documentary, which is the perfect format because of the life-long obstacles Robinson and his family had to go through to get to this point today. Streeter’s story should also be a documentary describing the history of Ashe and the state’s fascination with generals who fought for slavery over an African American athlete who made history. Burrough’s story could be something on National Geographic or Animal Planet to describe people’s love for animals along with the overpopulation of tigers in India. Hammer’s story should be made into a I Shouldn’t Be Alive episode. It’s a show that tells stories of people who were in life-threatening emergencies but made it out alive despite odds being stacked against them for survival. Most of the settings in this series are deserts, oceans, and forests to name a few. A climbing disaster on the world’s tallest mountain would fit right in.