The Vince Young Saga: The trouble with men and emotion.

     This past week was an eventful one for Vince Young, Quarterbackof the Tennessee Titans.  He gets booed during their game this past week and refuses to return to the game. When he does return he ends up suffering from a knee injury. He fails to show up for MRI Monday according to the news and  concerned others enough to send the police out looking for him.  He apparently left with access to a gun as well. 

      Certainly there is plenty worth commenting about here regarding this situaion.  First of all, let me point out that depression is serious. It is very common for people suffering depression to enter into denial, and it seems to be the case here with Vince minimizing the events.  First of all, it is important to note that if you ever suspect someone may be a danger to themself, you always need to act on that suspicion.  If you don’t and they were really a danger to themself and did something to harmselfs, such a decision would long be regretted.  So the fact that Vince was not a danger to himself doesn’t mean his family and coach did not act appropriately.  It also doesn’t mean he wasn’t experiencing depression.

    Vince has displayed sensitivity before. He is reported to have asked out of a play off game last year.  Vince didn’t handle being booed at all.  Now I don’t know much about Vince Young’s history and background. It is not uncommon for people to have exeprienced accolades and success all their life, to once encounter difficulties, to become insecure and depressed.  Some people handle pressure well, some do not. 

     Vince Young’s response in fact is probably not unlike most American men when faced with difficulty.  Emotions for men are generally something that gets in the way of getting things done.  Perhaps, Vince Young is less able to shut down his emotional responses and lacks effective emotion regulatiion skills. Most men lack effective emotion regulation skills and will turn readily to compulsive things such as alcohol, drugs, and sex.  These things are rampanant through out society and ways ultimately people seek to establish some form of peace in their life. 

     Vince Young is really not that different other then has made choices that have displayed his internal struggles.  Most men have learned to hide what is going on emotionally. We need the warrior mindset. We emotionally are often like the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail and supposed to keep on fighting regardless of seriousness of wounds and even when it is well beyond our capacity.

    Now when you get beyond the normal male emotional repression and add on complicated factors such as depression and denial, you end up with what can be a recurring cycle of emotional responses.  A difficulty will present such as getting booed, a reactive response will happen, followed by later re-evaluating and minimizing the concerns.  The dark mood gets “worked” through temporarily but the deep issues are never resolved.

     Vince Young clearly at a deep level displays concerns about others reactions to him.  He liked being the hero.  Being the one everyone looked up to.  He seems not to handle adversity well.  All sorts of reasons can play into this instability and varying ambivalence regarding playing the game of football.  His mood and reactions, if he doesn’t get help and work on improving self, may cost him his career in the long run, just as much as those that consistently turn to drugs and alcohol (ie. Travis Henry).

    Most men will examine this situation and ultimately look down on Vince Young, but he is not really all that different then the rest of us.  We all have differences in our tolerance levels. Some of us exhibit fear of man in more pronounced ways then others. We all though do struggle.

     In looking at my own life and struggles, I can certainly related. I have no idea what paths I would have taken if I personally didn’t have faith in Jesus as my Messiah.  It is so easy to turn to varied means of repressing emotions.  It is not an easy process to work through, and as a man, certainly worked hard at trying to “fix” myself. But ultimately we need help, we need other relationships, and we need to be able to get beyond ourselfs. We need to get beyond the point where responses  from others impact our daily moods.  

    As a Christian, I see the path for interpersonal peace to be found in Jesus.  Now that doesn’t mean that emotional problems and fears go away. It doesn’t mean I manage emotions perfectly, but rather that the key to may day to day well being is found first in submission to the King of Kings. It is being aware that when I have been my most selfish, the eternal punishment has been covered. It is knowing that I don’t have to fear any human reaction because I am secure in my relationship with God.  I pray that Vince Young gets to a point of peace, of true peace that can only be found in Jesus.