a few thoughts on rick rypien.
On Monday, Rick Rypien of the Vancouver Canucks was found dead in his Alberta home. He was 27 years old. As of right now, police are investigating it as a suicide.
I don’t know much about Rypien, and I won’t pretend to. All I really know about him is that he was a hockey player, not necessarily young in the game but young in life, and that he was taken from the world much too soon. When we idolize athletes or celebrities, we sometimes tend to forget that they deal with struggles just like everyone else does. Some of them may have more money or fame than we could even imagine having, but that doesn’t mean that their personal issues just disappear. They can’t pay off their personal demons to take a hike.
Rypien had a history of personal issues. From what I’ve read, he suffered from some mental health issues, and possibly even some anger issues (based on his altercation with a Minnesota Wild fan last season). Whatever the issues were, they were obviously bad enough to make Rypien feel like there was no other way out but to end his life (if that is what the police find happened after they’ve concluded their investigation). It’s a scary thought for anyone, whether they’re an athlete, a celebrity, or more of a regular old John or Jane.
There are programs provided to players. They have teammates, friends, family members, acquaintances, all of these people who can offer support. It’s not talked about often, but I’m sure there are plenty of other athletes who suffer from some sort of mental illness. They may fight their battles privately, but that doesn’t mean that those battles don’t exist.
When things like this happen, we all talk about spreading the word and offering a helping hand to anyone who may be feeling alone. There’s so much talk, but there needs to be more action. Even if you don’t think people need or want to hear it, reminding those close to you how much they mean to you is important to do. Not just on days like today, but every day. I’m not standing on a soapbox trying to preach, but it’s so important that no one feels alone. Whether they’re dealing with some personal issues that you may not know about, they still need to know people are there for them. Even if it’s not on the outside, it’s on the inside. We all need to work on being more conscious of that, myself included.
Rest in peace, Rick. I’m sorry that it took your death for me to learn more about your life. I only hope that you have found peace, and that others can find the strength and the support (whether it comes from inside or from an external source) to fight through the storm and quell the voices and thoughts of their personal demons.