'); } -->
I have always said anything learned in sports has practical lessons that can be applied in everyday life, but, as always, there are exceptions.
In some of lifes occurrences, there are no rules; there are no adequate lessons that can be applied to help you cope or understand certain circumstances.
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson knows that all too well.
Peterson has dealt with the death of his brother, who died in a bicycle accident after being struck by a drunken driver when he was 7 and the death his half brother, Chris Paris, who was shot and killed in Houston in 2007 the night before the NFL combine.
Tragedy struck again for Peterson Friday when his 2-year-old son died in an alleged case of child abuse.
As in 2007 with the death of his half brother, Peterson played on Sunday just as he participated in the combine the next day in 2007.
On Saturday, every sports media outlet I listened to and watched was debating whether Peterson should play Sunday and even had polls from the public asking their opinions.
My first thought? Is nothing sacred?
Having dealt with death many times, it infuriates me someone should be offering an opinion on how one handles a death of a family member grief is a very personal and individual experience.
We who are associated with the military and have experienced loss know this all too well.
The Center for Grief and Healing website says it best, Everyone grieves differently. How you grieve depends on many factors, including your personality and coping style, your life experience, your faith, and the nature of the loss. The grieving process takes time. Healing happens gradually; it cant be forced or hurried and there is no normal timetable for grieving. Some people start to feel better in weeks or months. For others, the grieving process is measured in years. Whatever your grief experience, its important to be patient with yourself and allow the process to naturally unfold.
Having had someone dear to me recently lose a daughter, and I say recently because to her it seems like yesterday, grieving is an almost daily occurrence some days more than others.
It has been explained to me like having a hole in your heart that will never heal.
In an interview, Peterson said playing football, for him, was therapeutic and that the game of football has always been there to get him through the tough times.
While there is nothing that can be learned from playing sports to help with the loss of a loved one, a tight-knit team and coaches can be a great support system for someone who is grieving.
I have learned, there is no right or wrong way to grieve. There isnt a time limit on grieving. There is no need to be strong for those around you, because feeling weak or crying is a natural response and grieving will not go away if you ignore it. For Peterson, playing football was the right thing to do and I applaud him for doing what was best for him and not the judging public.
Petersons son, and my close friends daughter, Rachel Wesley, left this life very young, but are in a much better place now and nothing in sports could have ever prepared their loved ones to face that kind of loss.
May both rest in peace.