Monday, July 7, 2008

Panther Nation Mourns


There's nothing worse then trying to talk to a mother who's just lost her son. It's heartbreaking. It's the one story you dread as a reporter. In fact, it's why I chose sports and not news. Sports takes you away from real life. Unfortunately, every once in a while real life comes into the sports world. So you can imagine how I felt on Saturday morning, to hear that Lufkin's very own Terrence Kiel had died in a car accident.
I had mixed emotions. I was sad for Kiel's family and friends. But I was also upset with Terrence. Toxicology tests won't be out for another six weeks, but there's reason to believe Kiel should not have been driving Friday night. Reports say friends told him not to drive himself. An eye witness told police she saw Kiel driving on the wrong side of the road before he lost control.
Those close to Kiel say he was a great person, who started making bad decisions. This was one that not only cost Kiel his life, but hurt an entire community. It was one of many bad decisions he's made since leaving East Texas. Only 27 years old, Kiel had so much potential. Unfortunately we'll never know how much.
This seems to be a growing trend for many East Texas athletes. I won't mention any by name, but so many talented young men I've covered have thrown their talents away. They haven't lost their life for it, but they have hurt their future. It's painful for me to see. When you cover these kids through high school, you can't help but root for them. I feel a sense of pride when they succeed. I'm extremely disappointed when they don't.
I'm not writing this post to pass judgment. It's not my place. But I would like to make a plea to all the young athletes in East Texas. Do the right thing! You may be great on the field, but you're not invincible. It's not tough to obey the law. It's not tough to go to class. In fact, it's pretty easy. It should be even easier when you have so much to lose. If anything positive can come from Terrence's death, I hope it serves as a wake up call.
I've often heard people say that the media only focuses on the negative. That's not true in Lufkin, Texas. I don't want to report on funerals and fatal accidents. I prefer to stick to touchdowns and home runs. I don't want to interview a mother about her lost son. I want to interview a mother about her son's game winning play.
When you leave Lufkin or any other East Texas town, you're representing more then yourself. You're representing your family, your friends and an entire community. Give us tears of joy, not tears of sadness.

2 comments:

Fan said...

Ryan, I think that you have hit the nail on the head.

Unfortuately for yourself and the people in your business, you cannot always say what you feel, even if it is the hard truth, and is the consensus among the community.

The unfortunate fact of the matter is that Terrence was a good athlete, who made some errors in judgement in his life...and ultimately he made the worst of all errors, and it cost him his life, and everyone knows it...but how do you tell that to a grieving family?

Victor said...

It really is wierd how everyone knows he was drunk...but yet it takes like 2 months to officially be announced.

I bet my life the family knew right away.