30 for 30 on ESPN premiered a documentary on last month titled Run, Ricky, Run. (Yes, I watch ESPN with my husband, at times, when he is REALLY, REALLY good). The documentary was on Ricky Williams, who is a running back for the Miami Dolphins.
Ricky Williams is famous for being a great football player.
But Ricky Williams is most famous for flunking drug test after drug test, and basically, walking away from football, a multimillion dollar contract, and leaving everyone scratching their heads, saying, "Huh?"
I was one of the hundreds of thousands of people who just couldn't understand how someone as talented as him could basically, in the eyes of others, just screw up their life because of marijuana. That was the story the media, the Dolphins organization and players put out there.
Ricky's version was slightly different.
Ricky had a rough upbringing. He played football. He was good. He tried to fit the mold. And he found that he couldn't do it.
The documentary chronicles his time after leaving the Dolphins and the National Football League. He spent some time in Australia, he studied yoga and holistic healing. He was trying to find himself.
Unlike the majority of the NFL players out there, he was not willing to sell his soul for money. Instead, he walked away, chose to work on himself, as he said, "Get my head straight."
And everyone rushed to judge, to condemn.
How many of us would walk away from seeming happiness, to the ridicule of others, to better ourselves? To walk the long windy roads into the dark part of ourselves, to work out those issues that have left us emotionally stifled and unable to enjoy the prosperity of our talents?
How twisted have we become as a society that we can feel qualified to pass judgment upon others, regardless of how little or how much we know of others?
And yet, I was one of them.
I thought he was ignorant. A druggie who couldn't control his addiction.
He was fighting his demons.
As I watched the other night, I came to understand this man's journey back to himself. At the beginning of the time chronicled, his voice sounded devoid of emotion, just dead. As the documentary continues, and he makes progress, you can see the light return to this man's eyes, life back in his voice.
And I wonder how many of his critics have ever chosen money over themselves. How many have sacrificed their families and happiness to get ahead?
Is the victory really worth the lives you destroy on the way to the top? How many will be cheering for you if you are not genuine with yourself? How can you be honest with anyone, if you cannot stand to look at yourself in the mirror?
How can you love anyone if you cannot love yourself?
Perhaps, I am an old softie at heart. Perhaps, I am too easily swayed by emotions and claims of renewed lives. But I was swayed.
At the end of the documentary, we have watched this tormented man reach within himself, dig himself out, and DONE something FOR HIMSELF.
He is a yogi.
He has studied holistic medicine.
He is a better father.
He is a husband.
He has made something out of himself, and can now share it with others.
He has proven to everyone that sometimes, you just need to walk away from it all before you can come back to it.
That takes courage.
It takes faith.
And it is always worth it, if you find what you are looking for.