We'll admit, we bought into the somewhat flashy image Luke Recker either
projected or which was projected for him.Â The running, shooting, dunking -
we did, we bought it to an extent.Â And so it's easy to not see beyond the
projected.Â But it's clear to us that Luke's accident, which was much more
serious than we realized, has done much to reveal his character.
This article is
simultaneously one of the saddest things we've read - a guy who has lost a
lot, his health in the short term, but more to the point his girlfriend's paralyzed
and her brother is still in a coma after being hit at 70 mph by a drunk driver -
and one of the most uplifting.Â This is a guy who has no doubt had a number
of illusions ripped away in recent days and has responded not by feeling sorry
for himself but with concern and compassion for his girlfriend and her brother.
After reading this, not only do we feel even more compassion for Recker (and
we had a lot already as we would for anyone who has suffered so) than we did,
but we see a guy who has suffered great tragedy and has, pretty clearly, found
in himself levels of compassion and humanity which are most impressive, but
particularly so in one quite young and who is used to having the world bring him
gifts and acknowledge his brilliance.
Athletes are no different than the rest of us, save the glaringly
obvious.Â But the star system tends to distort values on both their end and
ours. For them it's more difficult to see the everyday world which most of us
live in; for us, it's hard to see the common human frailties which they also
share.Â The media burns that bright.
We are greatlyÂ impressed with Luke's devotion to his girlfriend, and
hers to him.Â Â Â We admire his athleticism immensely, but are
vastly more impressed with his ability to put all of this in perspective. Saying
that he profited from the wreck would be an obscenity: the losses would be
trivialized.Â But it's probably safe to say the experience has changed him
markedly, and that he's seen well beyond the charmed world of the athlete.Â
He might have before; we feel certain his mother would say that's the
case.Â Â But his love for his girlfriend, and his compassion, is both
moving and heartbreaking, and it makes us hope and pray even more fervently for
both of them, and her brother as well.