Sad news today that former Warriors league player Kevin Locke is battling depression. Kevin spoke about how losing his father and the pressures of his sport and negative comments on social media really affected him. “Reading what everyone was saying about me on the internet was tough,” he said. “People are careless.”
Kevin admits that he got so down sometimes that he even attempted suicide. He was just 20 the first time he tried.
Reading Kevin’s story reminded me of something MMA fighter Ronda Rousey shared last week. Ronda had an unbeaten four year winning streak in the MMA and many people considered her invincible. That is until a sixth ranked fighter named Holly Holm knocked her out in their fight last November.
Ronda says she had a suicidal thought after the match. “What am I anymore, if I’m not this?” she said. “I’m nothing. What do I do anymore? No one gives a s— about me anymore without this.”
What helped Ronda overcome those feelings? Family. “I looked up and I saw my man Travis standing there … and I was just like, ‘I need to stay alive,'” she said.
Kevin Locke has a similar motivation. Like Ronda he finds a reason to keep going in his family. He says that whenever he feels down now he makes sure he tells his wife. “It’s great to receive help from someone who I love and who makes me happy.”
Kevin also has a three year old son, Louie. “Every time I’m with him, I’m a different person.” he says. “I love him more than anything and I want to make him proud of me. That gives me the drive to get better.”
I think it’s so important to talk to the young people we work with about topics like this. There’s a lot of pressures on them and on the outside they may look like they’re fine … doing well … happy. But that might not be the case. The Warriors say that 16 of the 100 players in their system are suffering from depression. And those are young people who are living their dreams!
One thing we can share with young people is the importance of being balanced in life. Ronda found peace when she realised that being an MMA fighter is not all that she is. Kevin is happiest when he remembers that he’s more than a rugby league player. Living for his family gives him a strong sense of purpose.
Have a great week with your students everyone.