Folks in Nashville and throughout the sports world were shocked to find out yesterday afternoon that former MVP quarterback and local favorite Steve McNair had been killed. In the short history of major league sports in Nashville, McNair clearly caries the credentials of the top athlete to play in Music City for an extended period of time.
While his sudden death is a tragedy for all involved, the real tragedy is that he died in a way that is diametrically opposed to many of the good things that he has accomplished in his career both on and off the field.
McNair had established the Steve McNair Foundation that was all about doing good and giving back to the community. His personal page on his site explained that "He was raised in a single-parent household with his four brothers--Fred, Tim, Jason, and Michael ("Doc")--by his mother who worked a factory graveyard shift to provide for her family. Ms. McNair not only worked hard to provide for her family but strived to instill in them certain values such as hard work, perseverance, honesty and integrity."
Those values were apparent in everything he did on the field and in his volunteer work. Many children looked to him as a "role model". In listening to all the statements and quotes on the radio everyone described him as a "family man." One went so far as to talk about how his wife and kids were expecting him home for the holiday cook out when they got the news.
Somewhere along the way something went seriously wrong with McNair and that he turned away from his values and went down a path that led to his premature death, shattering his family, his friends and all those who looked up to him.
Out of this tragedy, an opportunity is presented for parents to talk to their children and prepare them for life's tough choices and to explain to them that some things that seem good at the time probably aren't the way to go with their life.
An analogy that I use with my kids is that life is like a road with deep ditches on both sides. As they grow up, parents provide the guard rails to keep them out of the ditches as much as possible. Once they leave home, and are on their own, their values that they are given as children and their faith become the guardrails that keep them on the road and out of trouble.
Hopefully, out of this tragic situation, other lives will be spared by the talks parents have with their kids using Steve McNair as an example that bad thing do happen to good people when they head in the wrong direction.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Steve McNair and all those who knew him.
In Pred Nation...
David Climer has an interesting commentary on the Steve Sullivan signing and hockey finances in general.
Rachel at What The Puck says her good-byes to the three players who left and comments on the Sully and Ward resignings.
Dirk the Forechecker uncovered news that goalie Drew MacIntyre appears to have moved to the Thrashers organization.
This is a few days old, but it's another local view from the Cambridge Times of Ryan Ellis getting drafted by the Predators.
Around the NHL...
Free agent signings have slowed to a crawl and can be tracked at TSN and NHL.com.
For those looking for fresh hockey talk, The Program is in it's usual Sunday night time slot of 7:00-9:00 Central.
Ryan at the Red Light District follows his look at the final USA roster with a look at Team Canada's and also has an early prediction of how the Western Conference will shake out next season.
Interesting look at the NHL minimum wage earners by a new friend that I met in Las Vegas at The Puck Report.
In Phoenix, the City of Glendale is taking a hard look at the "Great One's" claim for dollars in the Phoenix bankruptcy case.
The Dallas Morning News has a look at athletes and social media.
Here is an interesting story that NHL Digest tweeted about the "Dany Heatley Jersey" and a journalist who wore it in public to get people's reactions.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass