Tony Teaches Me About Why

Photo Courtesy of Flickr

Last week there was an article on ESPN about Tony Gonzalez’s last game at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. Gonzalez is a future Hall of Fame football player and after announcing his retirement after this season and the closing of Candlestick Park after this season, last Monday night’s game would be his last there.

In the article they spoke of an incident involving Gonzalez on November 12, 2000 while he was playing for the Kansas City Chiefs. After being forced out of bounds Gonzalez took a late hit and ran into a photographer, knocking him unconscious.

The photographer was Mickey Pfleger. Gonzalez tried to help him, but was needed back on the field to resume play. When Pfleger regained consciousness he was taken to the hospital for further testing.

Pfleger’s brain scan revealed a significant brain tumor that was cancerous. It saved his life as it would have been too late had they not found the tumor when they did.

This is what Pfleger said about the incident;

“I was supposed to be knocked out by Tony Gonzalez at the football game, I was supposed to go into a seizure while I was unconscious, so that Dr. [James] Klint of the 49ers would tell the paramedics to tell the emergency room doctors to do a CT brain scan on me. I was supposed to be taken to San Francisco General Hospital and land in the hands of Dr. Martin Holland, an incredibly talented neurosurgeon. I was never supposed to get hurt from the ‘hit’ by Tony Gonzalez.”

Pfleger referred to himself as the “luckiest person in the world” after that. He wound up living 10 more years before his death on Dec. 10, 2010, at age 61.

How many times has something terrible happened to you and you ask yourself why? We don’t always get the why as quickly as Mickey Pfleger did and hopefully the why isn’t as serious as his was, but there always is a why.

A lot of times we don’t ever find out the why, but if you look back over your life at the terrible things that have happened to you and you build a time line of how you grew from that or what other cause and effect situation came out of that you start to get a clearer picture of why that terrible thing happened to you.

The funny thing I think is that when you start to really grasp that things happen for a reason and learn to deal with those things and to put them into perspective, then the terrible things in life really don’t seem that terrible and in the moment that they’re happening it’s much easier to remain calm and get a sense of the bigger picture.

What terrible things have turned out well for you?

 

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