Steve Gleason is an exceptionally cool human being, former NFL player, and ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) patient. He’s the founder of Team Gleason, an organization dedicated to helping people with neuromuscular disease or injury access tech that can help improve their overall quality of life.
He wrote a guest column for Sports Illustrated today, and several of his “Things I Think” got me thinking. I thought I might share with you all and see if anything sparked you today.
— Via Sports Illustrated.com, Monday Morning Quarterback Column
Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I think I am amazed at the generosity of Peter’s readers. Peter ran in a half-marathon in New York last year, and said he thought he could raise $15,000. The total was over $60,000.
All of the funds raised went to the Team Gleason House.
2. I think for a guy who played eight years in the NFL, these are hilarious career stats. I actually had one or two tackles.
3. I think the question of whether I would play football again if I had to re-do it is a popular one for journalists, but for me it involves far too many hypothetical scenarios to answer with any seriousness. Would I give up my wife or son? Because, in some sense, football brought me to them. Also, tell me what my life would look like, in painstaking detail, had I not played football. Would I have gone to college? Would i have found something passionate and meaningful to do? Or would I be lost in some joyless job, toiling away at life? And it’s very possible I’d still get ALS. Would I have made an impact on others? If you can answer those questions for me, and countless others, I will tell you if I regret playing football. The simple answer is this: Right now, I’m happy. My life is not easy, but it’s awesome.
Most people want to know if I want Rivers to play. I never played football until I was 14, and I see no reason for Rivers to play until he is at least that old. I do not intend to force Rivers into or out of any activity, but unless there is further evolution regarding the safety of football, I believe I can make a strong case to Rivers to take his services and do something amazing elsewhere.
4. I think Pearl Jam stands in the top five most significant American rock bands of the past 50 years.
Others I would include, in no particular order, are: The Doors, Van Halen, R.E.M and The Grateful Dead. If we consider individuals like Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and Bruce Springsteen, the list gets mangled. I would replace R.E.M and the Doors with Dylan and Hendrix.
I will be interviewing Pearl Jam to discuss their forthcoming album, which is their 10th. The band chose four people they were excited about talking to — and being interviewed by — for a series of recorded and filmed discussions focused on the creative process. Somehow I ended up being one of them. Which meant I got to hear some music off the new album. It’s sweet, by the way.
How did I end up as one of the interviewers? Ten years ago this April, I met one of the band’s guitarists, Mike McCready through a fellow Washington State Cougar athlete, Erica Perkins. Mike and Erica were family friends. I was playing for the Saints and Erica was the head coach of the women’s tennis team at Georgia Southern. Mike provided backstage passes for a show in Atlanta, so we hung out with him briefly before and after the show. Mike and I stayed acquaintances over the years, and I attended a few more shows. After my ALS diagnosis, Mike and his wife, Ashley, rallied to support me and my journey. Our families have become quite close, and I met the rest of the band last October for Music Midtown in, coincidentally, Atlanta. Not exactly sure why or how they they chose me, but I am not complaining. thanks Erica for the introduction … Go Cougs.
5. I think it’s scary that 20 percent of Americans think the sun revolves around the earth.
This study by MIT illustrates a gap between what people believe and the official position of religious organizations, regarding the coexistence of religion and science.
The basic premise is that a lot of people (46 percent) say they believe that the earth is only about 10,000 years old, and reject evolution as an explanation for life. But only a small number (11 percent) of people belong to religious institutions that profess similar beliefs.
The conclusion of the study is that, basically, a lot of people do not realize what their church believes; that the church or religious organization they affiliate with does not, in fact, believe that the earth is only 10,000 years old and also does not reject evolution.
To emphasize their point, the MIT study references an earlier study from 1999 that shows 18 percent of Americans believe the sun revolves around the earth, while 0 percent belong to churches supporting that concept.
I am fascinated by science, particularly astronomy, and equally fascinated by people’s belief that religion or spirituality cannot coexist with science. I used to believe that the religious institutions were suppressing people’s beliefs, but this study helps show, at least for the topics of evolution and our planet’s birthday, churches are progressing faster than their patrons.
6. I think my nickname could be “Delayed Conversation Man,” thanks to the extra time it takes me to respond to things. I vaguely recall a Saturday Night Live skit of the same name back in high school, but could not find anything on YouTube, Hulu or Google. Example scene: Steve is hanging out with two friends.
Friend 1: “Did you hear that Penelope Cruz might be the next Bond girl? What do you think about that?”
As Steve furiously begins typing with his eyes, Friend 2 replies: “I doubt that is true. She seems a little bit old. Speaking of Bond … I feel a little weird saying this but, I saw the most recent Bond movie with my mom.”
Steve: “That’s fine by me. She is totally hot. In fact, she’s on my hall pass list, approved by Michel.”
Awkward, uncomfortable silence.
7. I think the Pelicans is an acceptable name for New Orleans’ basketball team. But I would prefer cockroaches as the mascot. Certainly, the name would strike fear into the hearts of opponents. Watch this video.
They are life’s perfection. For 300 million years they have frightened other organisms. The persistent roach is a survivor. Hours without oxygen, 40 days without water, 90 days without food. Sounds like my beloved New Orleans community. They do not carry disease, have a reaction time of 40 milliseconds, travel up to 50 body lengths per second, and can regrow limbs, all of which are talents almost any ball player surely must envy.
8. I think the least powerful aspect of our humanity is our physical strength or ability. Life really is about the strong surviving, but as humans, we had to understand and share our weakness and vulnerability to survive the predators and weather the dangers of our circumstances. I think, in some way, we have lost, or fail to celebrate, much of that element of being human.
9. I think it would be cool if my body parts shrunk as my muscles died. That way Michel could tote me around like Yoda, Benjamin Button or C3PO.
10. I think the acronym for this column should be MMQ. Quarterback is one word.