The Kobe Bryant tragedy hit me harder than hearing the news of 911

The Kobe Bryant tragedy hit me harder than hearing the news of 911

I remember September 11th like it was yesterday. I was in my bedroom in our families large farm house outside of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan when the twin towers were hit by airplanes. I had just moved back home home after an unexpected break-up with an old flame. I woke up. My mom rushed into the room and told me about the tragic news. I didn’t understand why my mom cared so much about the situation especially because we didn’t know anyone affected. After hearing the news I went back to bed.
Over the course of several weeks it was evident that the world had the exact same perspective towards the situation as my mom because the tragedy was on CNN 24/7. Reminance of discussion even to this day still leaves trails of emotion behind the subject. Nowadays, I totally understand why we remain emotionally connected to tragedies like these. It’s because we can empathize with these people.
Surprisingly, I still haven’t come across anyone who knew someone on the planes or anyone affected from the 9/11 tragedies. There were so many victims. That being said, I’ve come to realize that you don’t need to necessarily know the person who has gone through tragedy to obtain a heightened emotional value from the experience. You simply need to position yourself in the tragedy and imagine what it would be like for yourself and your loved ones. This is the reason why everyone was so emotionally distraught about the 9/11 tragedies because people could relate.
Back in 2007 I was on an entirely different path in life. I was single, a risk-taking businessman and very spontaneous much like Kobe (without all the accomplishment). It wasn’t too long after the 9/11 incident I moved on a whim to Los Angeles to pursue my acting career. I was all over the page back then. I didn’t even truly know what I wanted but I was passionate to find out. I drove 30 hours to Los Angeles for … Heck I didn’t even coordinate a plan. I didn’t have the same emotional attachments I have today nor did I perceive the world the same way. My overall perspective about life is quite distant from my mentality back then. Now a days I am fostering three young daughters. I have a beautiful wife and have set up our household in Calgary, Alberta. Even though I am still in the prairies I am far from living in a household surrounded by cattle and the smell of pigs. Even though I still get out of bed on the same side my emotional attachments are quite different than they were back in my 20s. I couldn’t necessarily empathize with anyone back then because I was so focussed on living life spontaneously for myself. 
I was 20 years old when the September 11 tragedy hit. It was impressive how much media attention was focussed on this incident. It was even more interesting to hear the conspiracies about the subject.  Although I didn’t have an emotional attachment to any specific individual involved in this tragedy nowadays I can put myself into the situation and imagine what it would be like if my family were a part of it. This heightens my emotions greatly. The same feelings were felt when I heard the news about Kobe Bryant and his death. Alongside him was his daughter and five other people that were in a helicopter that was grounded killing all of them. It was such tragic news to hear especially because Kobe was only 41 years old — close to the age of myself.
I’m not a basketball fan nor have I found much interest in watching it. I don’t mind playing it. Interestingly, shortly after I moved to Los Angeles I met a guy who was a producer at Death Row Records. Often I would hang out with this producer at a bar on the Hollywood strip. My friend owned this bar. One night the producer asked if I wanted to go to a Los Angeles Lakers game. New to the Los Angeles seen I wanted to see and do as much as I could. I wanted to understand the LA culture as much as I could. I gladly took the invitation.
 I remember walking into the impressive Staples Center. The stadium was huge. What was even more impressive was that we watched the entire game from the Death Row Records corporate box on the second level. The sad thing was is that our seats were so far away from the action we could barely depict the players in their jerseys. Basketball was the last of my interests that evening. I was astounded by the gold and platinum plaques on the wall from Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem and all the other greats (my inspirations). I do remember my producer friend pointing out Kobe Bryant on the court. He was the talk of the town and had recently been acquired from the Lakers Association. Kobe Bryant’s moves on the court were impressive. I can’t even remember if the Lakers won that evening. 
Back then we didn’t text on cell phones like we do today but if we did I would’ve been blasting texts about Death Row Records more than I would about Kobe but that’s just because I have a larger emotional connection to the music industry than I do basketball. 
You may be wondering, if basketball isn’t your sport than why are you so emotionally affected by Kobe Bryant’s (and his daughter) death — more so than 911? The reasons are because I can relate to him and his family’s loss primarily because I have become a parent. I can relate to him because I was passionate much like him striving to be a master in bettering myself and motivating youth. Not only is Kobe close to my age but he’s a passionate individual, someone I aspire to be like. These very reasons emotionally bind me to the situation. I can empathize with him imagining what it would be like going down that day with his daughter because I’ve got three of my own. 
Let’s not lose account of all the true Kobe Bryant followers; the ones who watched every one of his impressive 32,000+ point career. There are millions of people who have not only followed but believed in Kobe (and his daughter) since his first steps on the NBA court just after graduating high school. These are people who got to know Kobe on a different level. They were able to see the aspiring 18-year-old, the youngest player in NBA history at the time. They saw him at Aspire from game to game remaining in the same Lakers jersey for his entire NBA duration. Then, after seeing all of this, after Kobe‘s retirement and very brief aftermath of the national basketball Association he’s grounded leaving a legacy behind. Being his death deemed a tragedy has left his followers emotionally distraught.
I have positioned myself more so a father than a businessman these days. It took time for me to situate caregiving my young children as my primary. I was always very fast-paced and spontaneous in my youth trying to live life to the fullest. Much like Kobe has positioned himself since his retirement. One of Kobe Bryant’s greatest encouragement was seeing how he handled his family and how connected he was to them. This is something I personally aspire to.
There are the reasons that contribute to my emotional attachment towards the loss of Kobe. I believe a fundamental reason why anyone is so emotionally connected to this event is because Kobe Bryant had such a positive outlook on life and he accomplished so many things. He was a role model in so many peoples eyes, and for these reasons people are attached to him including myself. Much like Michael Jackson’s death because he was so attributed to his accomplishments he was missed very much when he died. The same goes with Kobe Bryant; he was a master at his craft and a true believer in living life to the fullest. Kobe’s interest in helicopters showed his genuine belief in being a spontaneous and a fast-paced individual living his life to the fullest. These factors led him to be the best he could be. Unfortunately it also led to his demise.
I’m confident Kobe Bryant will go to his grave happily and satisfied knowing he did his best to be the best he could while living his life to the fullest. 
The amenity of acquiring daily helicopter travel is extravagant in the eyes of the average individual but it was these things that brought efficiency to Kobe‘s mindset and regimen. Rather than sitting in traffic for four hours on his commute to work he took his helicopter to the game. Although I don’t remember seeing a helicopter parked outside of the Staples Center when I saw Kobe play I remember imagining what it would be like being in his shoes at the top of his game. Back in those days it was just his beginning.
When I heard the news about Kobe Bryant’s death I instantly started tearing up. I didn’t even need to see a physical post to acquire an emotional connection to the situation. Understanding that it was a helicopter crash where the death was sudden it brings scarcity to us all when we realize that life truly is short. We never know when our time is up. Even writing this brings tears to my eyes because I have situated myself in Kobe shoes and imagining what it would be like leaving 2/3 of my family behind.
Kobe‘s accomplishments in the basketball court and as a regular civilian were truly remarkable. He played the game much like Michael Jordan. He played his life like no other. His presence will be missed by his loved ones and those he associated with as well as his followers. His persona will be missed by millions. Although he no longer remains in our physical world he will always be remembered in our hearts. 
The truth is, everyone can relate to him. Whether you aspire to be someone like him or if you or a parent and can empathize with the loss of a child. Even if you’re single and no ambition at all you can still look at Kobe Bryant’s strive for excellence as inspiration because his self motivation is the common denominator between your personal struggle to find your own happiness. Kobe is truly an outfitted individual that reigns Success. 
We often look at death as a reminder of how short life is. We don’t need to dwell on the loss of Kobe, his daughter and those who died in a helicopter accident. Instead we should celebrate their lives as each of these individuals strove towards the same things that we all want to strive for; happiness. Each of these players did a good job in finding who they want to be in life. Kobe‘s daughter was an aspiring basketball player herself. The media hasn’t released any information about the other victims but I’m sure they as well inspired to be great and aspire to be their best otherwise they wouldn’t be associating with Kobe Bryant. This is what we should celebrate.
Nobody likes to live life constantly in fear of what could happen to them if they were to take risks to provide a better life for their families and for themselves. Often times we give up on our true ambitions because of these very fears. Kobe was a player that took risks every game. Literally every step he took including the steps he took on to the helicopter this past Sunday that led him to his death, these were the risks that were needed in order to appreciate life and to live it properly. There are businessmen whom travel ten times as much as Kobe in these very helicopter types. Perhaps it was just his time.
I don’t know Kobe Bryant personally but I would imagine that his Life message would not necessarily pertain to accomplishment itself but would focus on the risks involved in order to live life to the fullest. As an observer going into Kobe‘s live through numerous video footage surrounding interviews, basketball statistics and even including his business endeavours it’s evident he remained dedicated towards his passion of playing basketball. Later in life his ambitions redirected towards his family; his daughters.
I can relate to Kobe in the sense that I gave up my passion as a youth motivator five years ago to situate my lifestyle more so around my kids and raising a family. Now, an aspiring author writing from home as an equal caregiver to my children I’ve become emotionally attached to my family members. Imagining my kids being in a tragic situation like this serves me great sadness because I can only imagine what his family is going through. This connection brings me closer to the experience. 
Even though I spend a lot of time with my kids I’ll personally use this experience as an outlet to take life less for granted. 
Kobe Bryant, thank you for all the inspiration. You will be missed.
 
Read more at KerryGirling.ca
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