Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Thoughts about Dads and Sons and Responsibility

Michael wrote:
"A few weeks ago, the sports world was shaken by the death of James Dungy, son of NFL head-coach Tony Dungy. As the reports came out, the news went from bad to tragic as it was revealed that James had taken his own life.

In the weeks that have followed, we've seen the Dungy family have to publically deal with what is a very private pain and one that will not easily, swiftly or possibly ever go away. I will admit that in the wake of this family tragedy, I've been moved by the show of support for Dungy and his family from people in the sports world and those outside of the sports world. I've also been moved by Dungy's faith in God during this time and his falling back on that comfort in a time of pain, sorrow and tragedy."
(reposted from a comment on Michael's site)

I can't help but wonder what did Tony not do for his son - and what sacrifices did he make in his personal life so that he could succeed as an NFL head coach?

I know James hung around the team a good deal in the past couple of years, and was a fixture around the players. But how much real, private attention did he get from his dad in his oh-so-important teen years? Those of us who follow football on college and pro levels have an idea of the time commitment it takes to be a head coach - recruting, road trips, scouting, meetings, practices, watching film, late nights... how does anyone find time to raise a teenager?

Makes you wonder what Phil Fulmer has lost in his relationships with his girls all these years. Obviously it doesn't mean they're going to commit suicide, but any father who spends an inordinate amount of time away from his kids is giving up something precious.

Which is what scares me to death when I think about career advancement and my avocational pursuits of theatre and music - one job took me away from home for two weeks. What if that happened regularly, and I wasn't there for that one ballgame, or recital, or play. Or two, or three. Or that one crisis, or that one special talk that needed to happen right then - not later, NOW.

I don't blame Tony Dungee. I don't know James' particular situation. But I can't imagine having an NFL head coach for a dad helped.

UPDATE: Will of Hit Coffee has more on a similar topic, "Wayward Sons and Daughters" where he discusses the occasions when well-raised, well-disciplined kids go wrong.

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