Ohhhhhh…..I just wanted to cry real tears, as one of our young friends used to say, when the news broke about TCU quarterback, Casey Pachall, and his DWI and subsequent ousting from what was his undefeated team…for all kinds of reasons.
From the most shallow perspective, of course, is the fact that we follow the purple in this family, and Pachall’s one of the best quarterbacks in college ball today, and TCU has the great fortune to have him. Having a first stringer go down a couple of nights before a big game is something to which few college teams would be able to adjust immediately, TCU included. However, all of this pales in importance to the rest of the repercussions of Casey’s behavior.
First of all, I suppose the fact that Casey Pachall is a local to our area (from Brownwood) makes him seem like “ours.” It’s very easy for those of us who cheer these young men, read about them in the papers, and talk about them in the coffee shops to feel that we know them personally. This may be even more relevant to Casey who is from a small Texas town where everyone knows him (or knows of him).
As wonderful as small towns can be, they do often put residents in a fish bowl, don’t they? My heart breaks for the parents whose son’s sins will be discussed in every local outlet for weeks to come. And if that is not enough, this family also has had its personal problems announced on national television over and over this week, several times alone during Saturday’s televised game.
It’s not enough that these parents have to be worried sick about their child, they can’t turn on the television, pick up a newspaper, or go to the grocery store without hearing about it. I know how that feels, and it is horrible beyond belief.
Then, there’s Casey himself. I’ve actually spent some time following him and the TCU story that unfolded months ago. There is no doubt that the talented quarterback has a problem. What I don’t know is if his behavior is simply that of a typical college kid who has been a superstar since he first picked up a ball and is now in a position to sew the proverbial oats or whether his problems with substances have gone much farther.
Ric and I have been forced to stand and watch loved ones lose their battle with alcohol time and again, and I’m not sure there is a more helpless feeling in the world. If this is the case with Casey, I know exactly how those around him…and there are many…feel. By now, they have tried coaxing, begging, crying, preaching, screaming, joking, pointing out the good things in his life, reminding him of the unbelievable opportunities awaiting him, telling him that they love him…and when nothing worked, they started over again.
Of course, if Casey Pachall is not possessed by the demon in the bottle, then he is a self-serving rat because he let a heck of a lot of people down this week, including those players who have dreams of a football life beyond college ball themselves. Playing for a national team never hurts in the politics of the game, does it?
Now, I can’t predict the future. It’s no secret that Casey Pachall has a chance to make the pros, a very good chance, and more than likely there will still be a team perfectly happy to take a chance on him. He’s certainly not the first college student to find himself slapped with a DWI, and he will not be the last. And since, unfortunately, we all seem to learn more from our mistakes than we do our successes, I am praying (and I mean that literally) that this will be the case this time.
I suppose one of the most important things I have learned from life is the fact that (as long as everyone is still alive) problems do not have to last forever. We get through them, and we move on. Most of us also eventually grow up. Obviously, my hope for Casey is that he simply needs to grow up; my prayer is that if he needs help, he will be willing to get it…whether he ever takes another snap or not.
Second Photo from USA today