Friday, March 25, 2016

Running the risk

When you're young, you see every day as part of an endless vista of opportunity, with plenty of time to do anything and everything, and room to take chances.  

That's where the rub comes in. Yes, our lives all have a finite amount of time in them. There are two problems with that: we don't know HOW much time there is, and when you're 15, or 23, man, it seems like it's first down and forever to go.

But not always.  Last week in West Virginia, a 15-year-old boy was killed when he was struck in the head while playing a game of "dodging arrows" at a friend's house.

Caleb Fairchild, an eighth-grader in Chapmanville, WV, was playing a game in which one kid shoots an arrow toward another kid, whose goal is to dodge the arrow.  Caleb did not avoid the arrow, and so he entered eternity at 15.

State Police Sgt. C.R. Sutphin said, "They were just goofing around, thought it was a good idea. It's just a bad decision, if you ask me."

Yes.  But don't say, oh, he was only 15, and assume that someone who was days short of turning 24 and had spent time in college and a year of playing in the National Football League would be less likely to engage in foolhardy behavior.

Because that was the story of Baltimore Ravens cornerback Tray Walker, who was riding a Honda dirt bike with no lights, and wearing dark clothing, when he collided with a Ford Escape in Miami a week or so ago.  He died the next day. 

Tray Walker
Life gave Tray athletic talent that he developed into enough skill to make a spot for himself as a pro football player. His rookie season last year seemed to promise much bigger things for him on the Ravens in the coming seasons.

I don't know that I agree with the old aphorism about youth being wasted on the young.  I know plenty of young people who take their lives and make wonderful things out of them. 

And let's face it.  Plenty of people fool around with bows and arrows, and lots of people do unwise things with motorized vehicles, and survive.  I don't know that there will ever come a day when we older types can say no one young is doing anything risky and so we don't have to worry about them. 

We can just say, as always, we hope people of all ages will hedge their bets by not taking too many chances too often, and, that said, we'll all live long and enjoy the best of things.

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