Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ryan Lefebvre's "The Shame of Me"

I just got done reading Royals TV Broadcaster Ryan Lefebvre's book, "The Shame of Me" for the second time in a month. I am incredibly grateful that Ryan is allowing the world to look into the dark and disturbing story of his battle with clinical depression and alcoholism. It really gives the reader a look inside the mind of someone who struggles with the proverbial "inner demons" and takes us on the violent journey that took hold of Ryan during the 2005 season.

It gave me, an aspiring radio show host and sports broadcaster, some perspective on the lives that these men live. That it sometimes isn't enough to be successful, handsome and well-liked. It made me realize that you have to confront your emotions and problems in your life, rather than hide them in the deepest abyss of your soul. We are incredibly lucky to have a man like this representing the Royals' organization in our community.

I'll be honest, I did not like Ryan when he started his career with the Royals at the turn of the millenium. I thought he was a cocky, smug jerk who was using the Royals as a stepping stone to something bigger than Kansas City. But he started to grow on me throughout the years and I came to learn that he is an incredibly intelligent baseball announcer and he has turned into one of my influences in my quest for a career in sports broadcasting. But after reading this book, Ryan Lefebvre is more than an influence on me, he is a hero. I usually don't throw that word around too much, but he really is. The courage he has shown in publishing his heartbreaking story has given me so much more respect for him as a man. As men, we are taught to hide our emotions and hold the tears back when the weight of the world becomes too much for us. He has given me faith that it is okay to talk about your emotions and to really tell people what you are feeling, rather than put up walls and facades to make us appear tough.

I look forward to the opportunity of getting to know Ryan Lefebvre during this season. I highly recommend reading his book, because whether or not you suffer from addiction or depression, you will learn something about yourself and begin to ask questions about your own mental health.

As for Ryan Lefebvre's future as a broadcaster with the Royals, I hope he stays here forever. He is one of the best announcers in the game and I think that he will one day join Denny Matthews and Fred White in the Royals Hall of Fame, and years down the road, be enshrined in Cooperstown, not only as a broadcaster, but also as an advocate for depression and addiction awareness among the baseball community.