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      By Abayomi Kalejaye

      The most petrifying reality that patently and inevitably confronts every mortal is the knowledge of a day when the killer of men finally conveys them to the netherworld. Death. An inevitable fate that awaits all and sundry.

      From death cometh forth pain, sorrow, regret, trauma, et al; likewise does it spring forth recognition, eulogies, credit (deserved and undeserved), esteem, concern, veneration, tribute, etc., etc for the deceased.

      The unfortunate chains of event that has bedeviled the world of sport saw the heart-rending demise of boxing legend, Nigerian football legends Stephen Keshi and Shuaibu Amodu. As it has become conventional, the world duly paid these personages ‘a glowing tribute’.

      More often than not, the death of an individual always has a way of eliciting a great sense of sympathy and value from the living. No wrong there. What triggers a tremendous amount of curiosity is the proportion of adulation a deceased receive when they are no more in contrast to when they were alive. It’s simply incredible how the same category of people who unconstructively criticized, calumniated, disparaged and derided this sport men (including regular individuals)  in their career span suddenly morph into devoted and passionate praise-singers and compassionate tributaries. It is the same set that would allude to fond memories they have of the same person along with other familiarity anecdotes.

      This recurring phenomenon certainly should compel us to cogitate on the disturbing trend in our nature as humans. True, not all tributes to a demised individual can be classified as a lip homage due to the corresponding affection shown to the person while alive. However, more often than not, it’s apparent we humans, for one reason or the other, fondly withhold commendation and praise from ourselves to the detriment of our overall being. How grave is the cost of respect instead discourtesy? Love instead of abhorrence? Unity rather than enmity? Regard instead of disdain? Humility in place of pride? Why do we reserve praises for an individual on the day of their demise as opposed to while they were alive? Do we consider the kind of effect a good word or a simple compliment can have on a person?

      No doubt in their lifetime, Ali, Keshi and Amodu would have been pelted with barrage of unfair criticisms, billingsgate and all manner of unspeakable drivel. Too often a time, we let our emotions get the better of us in our treatment of people. Indeed, not everyone would possess endearing characters; still and all, our existence together in this world does not necessarily have to be a miserable experience if we resolve to treat everyone with love and respect – deserved or not.

      If we can lose distasteful attitudes that directly distress those around us, and instead surrogate it will appreciation and kindness, the departed will be comforted with the thought of a world that didn’t only value them in death, but in life.

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