Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Meaning of "Sad"

Most of us at some point in our lives have experienced loss and grief, and been disheartened by the unanswered questions related to why horrible things happen to normal people seemingly so undeserving.

Most of us have no idea...


2nd brother of Bulls LB Wilson killed in Miami

For the second time in three months, USF senior linebacker Kion Wilson is mourning the tragic loss of an older brother shot and killed in Miami.

Darius Wilson, 29, died Sunday from complications resulting from a gunshot wound to his upper right leg, according to the Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner's Office. Miami-Dade Police are investigating his death as a homicide, and have not released details about the shooting, though the address listed is a North Miami nightclub.

Darius Wilson's funeral services are set for Saturday, and USF head coach Jim Leavitt will attend, along with linebackers coach David Blackwell and special teams coach John Hendrick.

In March, Darius Wilson was among those who stood up and spoke at the funeral of his brother, Kellon "Herbie" Wilson, 24, who was fatally shot in Miami Gardens. One man has been charged with first-degree murder in that shooting, and a woman charged as an accessory after the fact.

Kion Wilson, 22, moved from Miami to Jacksonville after his freshman year in high school to avoid the violent surroundings he lived in as a young teenager. "I don't have any more friends in Miami," he told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune last fall. "Everyone is either incarcerated or passed on."

Wilson, who has not spoken publicly about the death of his brothers, shined last season in his first year with the Bulls, starting 11 games and finishing third on the team with 66 total tackles. He is expected to be a leader at linebacker in the middle of USF's defense and is a potential NFL Draft pick.

Because Leavitt will be in Miami on Saturday with Wilson, he has canceled a scheduled appearance Saturday night as emcee at a scholarship fundraiser at the St. Petersburg Country Club.

Posted by Greg Auman at 06:13:42 PM on June 4, 2009

Now, I'm not posting this in an effort to start some dialogue about whether or not the two slain men were innocent or up to no good, or to start a dialogue about how men in nightclubs after a certain age are opening themselves up to unnecessary risk, or even to debate or discuss the hows and whys of the collegiate athletic scholarship awarding process, or any other such social commentary nonsense. Nope...we're not going there. Why I'm posting this is much simpler than that.

A young man, a student and athlete at my Alma Mater, has lost two brothers in nearly as many months to violent crime here in my home state. It's as simple and gut-wrenchingly unfortunate as that.

My parents served as faculty at USF, where Bulls linebacker Kion Wilson plays, for a combined 69 years. I spent 8 years as a student there, earning two degrees, and working for the university myself for five years in various student and full time jobs. My brother graduated with a BA in journalism and my stepsister earned her BS and went on to finish her studies at USF's medical school. As children, our summer camp bus would drop my brother and me off on campus at the Administration Building, and we'd spend the afternoons splashing around in the various fountains on the grounds, generally acting like loons. Growing up and through high school, I attended art camps, music festivals, fine arts exhibits and student theater productions. I lived on campus for nearly 4 years, and met some of my closest friends while attending. I was a sophomore in the school of music when I was diagnosed with cancer. Finally, 6 years ago, I was married on campus, literally feet from where I splashed in the Administration fountains, on a very warm and humid Tampa day in May. When my misguided co-workers trumpet braggartly about their days at Florida or FSU, attempting to somehow imply that my college experiences at USF couldn't possibly measure up to their time in Gainesville or Tallahassee, I just smile and roll my eyes. My university, USF, has meant a bunch to me over the years, for reasons that I'm sure that neither my friends and coworkers, my siblings or even my parents understand or maybe even care to.

Why is this all relevant? Where's the connection between my USF experience and the tragic deaths of two brothers of a current student athlete?

Because somehow, I want to let Kion Wilson know that I appreciate his work and his participation in helping to grow the 'brand' of my school. I appreciate his effort and success as an athlete, and I support him completely as a student and hope he completes his degree in whatever field he chooses regardless of his success on the field. I hope that my University, our University, and the students and fellow athletes and faculty on campus around him, somehow provide him with some comfort and security in the face of his unfathomable loss. USF provided me with an unbelievable amount of community and sense of belonging when I was a child, young adult, and finally as a student. I hope for Kion that he finds strength in some of that for himself, and I want him to know that I'm proud of him.

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