Sean Taylor And A Boulevard Of Broken Dreams

Football, J. Tinsley — By on May 17, 2012 at 10:00 am


Death packs the uncanny ability to provide perspective with everything in life, especially sports. A Dallas Cowboys and Florida State Seminoles fan remembers the late Sean Taylor.

These words weren’t supposed to happen. Truthfully, I’m not even sure what triggered them. This time of the year has always been catered to the NBA playoffs. My stance this year is well documented and, apart from that, I just love the game of basketball itself. The same way I do football. Then, from the upper deck of left field, it hit me while watching a late night edition of SportsCenter with, ironically, the instrumental to Master P’s “I Miss My Homies” playing through iTunes. Weird, I know, but it happened.

I miss Sean Taylor.

With the news ESPN would be bringing back the critically acclaimed – and probably top three initiative the company has ever embarked upon – “30 For 30″ series, I immediately thought of their Len Bias documentary. Having known Bias’ story for years, putting footage to my mental image already curated at the time was a powerful and emotional experience. I’m not afraid to admit my eyes welled up and even produced a few tears. It was just that powerful. Unfulfilled potential can produce those type of emotions and the clip of his father breaking down crying in front of the media damn near has me misty-eyed typing this.

No one wants to die before their time. We’re supposed to accomplish our dreams, get married, have kids and whatever else your image of the “American Dream” dictates. Unfulfilled potential is the worst burden to carry, mainly because the question of “what if” is a scar which never fades over time. You always wonder. You always wonder how much stronger and longer could the Celtics dynasty have been with Bias learning under Bird, McHale and Parish. You always wonder if Benjamin Wilson could have blossomed into the all-world talent his Chicago high school career suggested. You always wonder if Drazen Petrovic could have become a Hall of Famer. I mean, sh*t, you’ll always wonder what Trayvon Martin could have been had George Zimmerman followed 9-1-1′s orders.

For Sean Taylor, “what if” is the driver in his legacy’s car.

Sean and myself had always been connected at the hip for being polar opposites. He was a freakish athlete. I tore my ACL when I was the top rated seven year old in the country on a freak landing following a layup which forever altered my career. He attended the University of Miami. I was a Florida State fan that attended a historically black college in Hampton University. He was drafted by the Washington Redskins. I actually have common sense and root for the Dallas Cowboys. That whole spill about me tearing my ACL wasn’t exactly true, by the way. I’ll let you figure out what part isn’t.

The guy was a thorn in my side for as long as I could remember. Yet, one November morning I woke doing what I normally did to wake myself up and get ready for class. You all did it in college. Yeah, that. I immediately checked my phone to a text from my boy Dario who is a diehard ‘Skins fan. All it said was, “turn to SportsCenter right now.” The headline simply read “Sean Taylor Dead From Gunshot Wound.” You know, it’s weird. I’ve spent the majority of my life as a sports fan wishing ill will on the Redskins. Seeing them sign over-the-hill veterans for far more than they’re worth was comical and even seeing the team fall flat on their face after starting 2-0 is one of my finest joys.

This? As in death? As in he’s not coming back? It was one of those surreal moments in which the only thing you could do was watch television in shock.

J. Tinsley

@JustinTinsley is stuck halfway between a dream and reality. The plan? To make that dream a reality.

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    10 Comments

  • Powerful words. Really nothing to add other than I agree wholeheartedly with every word.

  • Josiah says:

    Sean Taylor was “Beastmode” personified. I had so much respect for that man, going back to watching play for The U. I’m a Dallas Cowboys fan myself, and I would root of FSU whenever they played Miami, and while I despise the opponent, my respect for Sean Taylor was greater than my dislike for whatever team he played for.

    He’d been through some things, and he was “on the mend”, and then for it to end.. just like that. And a lot of us folks were still struggling to come to terms with the death of Darrent Williams, then this happens. I was really down that day, didn’t wanna talk much at all. Just thinking about a woman who’d just lost her soon to be husband, and daughter losing her father.. and the assailants, what was it that they could have possibly gained from all of this?

    Yet another wonderful article. Keep up the excellent work. Y’all damn got me shedding a tear for the fallen brother. RIP Sean Taylor.

  • Joe Simmons says:

    I have never found myself in admiration of many Washington Redskins players, but Sean Taylor was the exception. The first time I saw him at the U in spring practice I knew this kid was special.

    Powerful Piece Tinsley. Sorry you let the fellas bring out the worst in you last night. It was epic comedy tho.

  • J. Tinsley says:

    Respect is given where respect is due, and Taylor deserved that.

    @Joe – LOL, man. It was something that has been building up for a long time.

  • Super Jay says:

    Amazing piece. I still watch highlights of him often. RIP.

  • dduggs says:

    “He was drafted by the Washington Redskins. I actually have common sense and root for the Dallas Cowboys.” -_- so much shade!

    “never want to see the Redskins do well. In an ideal scenario, they’d go 0-16 in 2012 forcing Robert Griffin III to hire Archie Manning as his business advisor.”…. -________- even MORE shade! lol

    Other than those lines, not really much to say except… I totally agree!

  • Trey says:

    B.R.A.V.O. Mr. Tinsley — from a Redskins fan all 27 years of his life, this was amazing. Loved the second to last passage was heartfelt. Dope, bro.

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