Back in early 1984, along with watching a lot of Expos games with me, my best childhood friend won an all expenses paid trip for two to attend the 1984 Summer Olympics in the great city of Los Angeles – the mythical, sunny land that, to this then young 13-year old, seemed so far, far away. For two weeks that summer as I watched daily TV coverage from this magical city on the other side of the continent, through the years of never missing glitzy award shows as a young adult, and watching Dodgers games with my father if they ever were actually televised in our part of the world, LA remained that sunny, far away place that existed only on my television.
Since those teen years, I’ve come to learn much more about the City of Angels – while those aforementioned “ritzy” parts of the city do exist, they are only a small part of the essence of the city. Along with many famous people, LA is full of regular folks like you and I, and I’ve been lucky enough to have the fortune of meeting and forming relationships with many of them, though I wouldn’t have if it hadn’t been for our shared love of the Dodgers.
I’ve also learned as an adult that I’m an empath, and I feel others’ pain and energy deeply. Since as far back as I can remember, if I see someone get hurt – whether in real life or even while watching fiction unfold on TV and in the movies, I literally feel it myself in the form of chills and tingles that radiate throughout my body. And I feel that pain even deeper when it affects people I care about. (Crying every year since the age of 9 when baseball season ends? That’s 98% sadness for my beloved players, 2% personal loss)
I embrace my empathetic nature as it has helped me form lifelong bonds of friendship, and ultimately help others process their own emotions, but it can also lead to feelings of helplessness when there is literally nothing I can do to ease the pain that others are feeling…and since this weekend’s tragic Kobe Bryant news broke, people I care about who live in this magical land that used to feel far away, but now has become an extension of my home, well, they’re hurting a lot, and by extension, I feel that pain myself.
“We’ve been through our ups and been through our downs. I think the most important part is that we all stayed together throughout.” pic.twitter.com/AJDrr1WDIT
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) January 31, 2020
I have no words to help heal the pain – recovering from the shock of sudden death doesn’t work that way; all I can do is suggest that we all let it serve as another reminder that life is precious and our journey here is short, so we have to enjoy the time we do have with the people we are lucky enough to share it with.
And this week, and for many days and months to come, I send warm thoughts of appreciation and friendship to many of these special people – in my beloved “far away home” of LA and beyond.