My FOX 8 colleague Jennifer Hale broadcast two lengthy profiles and interviews with former New Orleans Saint and current New Orleans icon and hero, Steve Gleason.
You can see them at FOX8Live.com
. I recommend it.
Admitted: We've made a lot of fuss about Gleason lately, here at this station and all over the media, really.
His battle against the uncurable disease of ALS was featured during the Super Bowl pre-game broadcast – and he wasn't even affiliated with either of the competing teams.
Hell, he wasn't even a starter in the NFL; he was a special teams guy. I can't imagine many people outside New Orleans knew who he was before that show.
Except maybe some folks in Atlanta.
Perhaps we're flirting with over-exposing Gleason; I interviewed him on this station just a couple weeks ago.
But the thing is, every time he tells his story, it gets so much deeper, spellbinding, as he allows us – the media and the public - an insane amount of access to his life, his story, his family, his illness.
He is holding nothing back. His bravery, compassion and equanimity in the face of a terminal prognosis surpass “inspirational” to a word I don't even know exists in our language.
He's connected to something the rest of us want to touch.
He's Jeremy Lin and Tim Tebow combined – plus Lou Gehrig.
Gleason's most recent revelations to us are the home videos - part memoir, part instructional video – he has been feverishly compiling for his infant son, Rivers.
They range from shaky, thrilling footage of Gleason skydiving on the anniversary of his ALS diagnosis, to a gentle, sublime lesson to Rivers on how to properly skip a stone in water.
That part kills me.
I have three kids. I cannot imagine. I cannot fathom.
That the way they would get to know me is on a video screen.
The way they would learn the rhythms of my voice, the quirks of my character, the vagaries of my judgement, the nuances of my humor... would be on high def.
Then again, ten years ago, very few people would have been able to embark on a project like that, to ceaselessly document oneself so intimately to pass along to those who come behind.
Just in case, well... you know.
And that's something for all of us to think about.