During the winter of 1976, while playing as a sweeper fullback for my AYSO soccer team, I broke my right arm. Snap! Both the radius and ulna were broken. An opposing offensive player came at me with the ball, and I came in from the side to tackle. I managed to get a yellow card, and also a cast clean up to my humerus head. There was no such thing as fiberglass back then, and so I returned from Christmas break with a full cast and tales of glory over a great defensive move. More than likely, the pain I feel in my arm, especially on night's like this, when the barometric pressure has dropped, and snow has begun to fall, are the lasting effects from that break in 1976.
During my Christmas break, my adoptive gramps, Nick Zeiner, gave me a book in order to help me with my recovery. "The Other Side of the Mountain". It was a true story of the 18 year old U.S. Olympic ski team hopeful, Jill Kinmont. While at trials in Alta, Utah, Jill crashed on a run, slid into a spectator and then a tree. She broke her neck. From that day on, Jill lived life in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the shoulders down. My "gramps" thought I could relate to Ms. Kinmont. Of course, at the time, in 1976, I was not an avid skier. I had taken up the scary sport a few years earlier, at Mammoth Mountain, CA, and was still on the timid side of the sport. The thought of flying at exceedingly, dare devil speeds was not my forte.
However, I suppose my Gramps saw in me some sort of free spirit. I loved soccer. I played softball for a few years through Northridge Little League, but really, my game was soccer. My parents had my siblings and I all in the sport. While some of us were better at offense than defense, I thrilled at the chance to be a defensive player. I was either in the goal, or on the fullback line. I was not a big girl, but rather had a hell of a kick, and thus when a winger would come speeding down the field towards our goal, I knew they'd have to get past me. I played soccer until I was in the 11th grade. If only I had stuck with it, I would not be cursed with the ever daunting task of watching my weight.
But, I am off the subject now. A few days ago, the music world received shocking news that yet another once talented singer had fallen as a result of a life of drugs, booze and too much partying. The Grammy's were "a celebration of Ms. Houston's life", and entertainers were fast to get up on stage and pontificate as to how Ms. Houston may have touched their lives. Don't get me wrong - having suffered the horrors of addiction myself, I know it's a disease. It can be a disease that an addict can control though. And certainly, just as others have fallen prey to the enticing lifestyle of addiction, there are always enablers. So I suppose my sympathy isn't as devout as some of the enablers that Ms. Houston had in her life and more than likely, her death.
Silently, Ms. Jill Kinmont Boothe passed away on February 9, 2012, just 2 days before Ms. Houston. I couldn't help but see the irony in this. Although I am not speaking from any type of personal experience, and have no one directly in my life who is a quadriplegic, I can only imagine the battles that an 18 y/o sports figure, like Jill Kinmont endured after her horrible crash in Alta. So much promise on the skiing circuit, her chance at international fame was cut short. However, such obstacles did not define Ms. Kinmont. She was able to overcome her disability. She attended college, earned a degree; actually two. She married, and taught school in Bishop, CA. She lived a long and fruitful life, and I am quite confident that her students are glad that she was part of their lives.
So, what did the main stream media do about this sad news? Nothing. I read about Ms. Kinmont's death in the OBIT section of the Los Angeles Times. Not even a full page. Jill Kinmont rose above her disability, and did not let that deter her from great achievements. Did anyone in Steamboat even know that Jill Kinmont was at one time the girl friend to the very mountain we see in front of us every day? Buddy Werner. Mt. Werner. Ms. Kinmont had every reason to give up on life, do prescription drugs, booze and destroy her life. She kept on living. She never gave up. Yet, our media is so obsessed with stardom, that we can't fathom the other people in the world that make a difference in hundreds of peoples' lives every single day.
What about the military men & women who never return home from war? How many times does the media make a big, stinking deal about those heroes? Are we, as a society, so addicted to being voyeurs into celebrity lives, that we are unable to fully appreciate the measures that our military go to in order to give celebrities a voice in a free country? It boggles my mind.
The next time a celebrity bites the big one over a self induced lifestyle to the evil ways of addiction, I wonder which news outlet will fall over the other to get the big story.? What about the next time someone like Jill Kinmont leaves this world - will we even realize that the world lost a bright and shining star?