The Important Things in Life

A friend of mine posted a story on Facebook that caught my attention for a couple of reasons. The first being that the incident took place in Charlotte NC, where I currently live. The second reason was that it involved a soldier who lost both of his legs fighting in Afghanistan. I don’t get into politics at all, but I do have the utmost respect for anyone willing to risk their life to protect the freedoms we all too easily take for granted in this country. (Click HERE to see the article.)

I won’t go into all the details of the story since you can read it for yourself, but it saddens me to think this all started because both parties root for different football teams. I mean, come on, this man went to fight in a war thousands of miles away, lost both legs in the process, and can’t wear his team’s jersey into a restaurant without someone treating him and his family like garbage? What has this world come to?

Don’t get me wrong, I love sports. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with being passionate about your favorite team. I love the Miami Dolphins (Don’t laugh. I know they stink, but I have been a fan since the Marino days.) and the Chicago Bulls, but I’m not going to disrespect a man, who sacrificed so much for the country I call home, just because he likes a different team. That is ridiculous on so many levels. As I read the story, I got angry and then teary-eyed. It must have felt like such a slap in the face to be treated like that after sacrificing both legs to defend the very ones who were calling him names and threatening his family.

I was shocked to read that the restaurant staff asked the soldier and his family to leave. Wow. At first, I didn’t even know where to begin on that part. I read later on their Facebook page (Click Here) that the establishment owner did, in fact, contact them directly and invited them to come back. I felt somewhat better after reading that.

With the ups and downs of life, and what we all go through on a daily basis, sports should be near the bottom of our priority list.

I would rather try to help the family down the street who has no food. Or be a friend to the kid at school who is terrorized by bullies every day. What about the single mom with six children who escaped a refugee camp in Africa and does everything in her power to keep them afloat. Working with inner city youth, I’ve seen all of these examples on a first hand basis, and it breaks my heart. Instead of disrespecting someone because they have different views, let’s embrace the differences, and do what we can to help our fellowman.

We’re all in this together. This thing we call life. In a world where there are so many hurting and lost people, we can be the difference that we talk about so much. Instead of tearing each other down, let’s encourage one another and do everything we can to help those in need.

Next week: Through the Fire

Make sure to follow me on Twitter and/or Facebook by clicking on the appropriate link to the right. Thanks!

Have a blessed day,


Categories: General, Troops

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

62 replies

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  10. I just found this after posting a blog earlier today expressing the same sentiments. Must be a recurring theme with so much bad going on in the world. Thanks for your words. They let me know that there are other optimists out there.

  11. Well said. Its great to participate in and follow sports. But let’s get real. We are able to do that because we are not fighting for our turf, or scrounging for food to keep our children alive, or running from shelter to shelter to keep the elements at bay. Part of the reason is that we got lucky. To be born where we were. To the parents that we did. Let’s not forget the not so fortunates.

  12. Many thanks for following! I am most impressed by the depth of your thoughts!

  13. Thank you, Chris, for following my blog.

  14. This seems the world upside down. Staff should have asked the troublemakers to leave the establishment and to point them out that everybody is free to believe what they want to believe and to support those they want to support as long as they do no damage to others. Clearly the disgruntled Panthers fans took an unethical attitude and bullied the weaker one in a wheelchair.
    That nobody of the other customers stood up says more of their cowardliness than of the courage the man in the wheelchair had.
    Was Chris Neilsen, owner of the Moosehead Grill, not there to react in the right way at the right time?
    Did the patron who allegedly told Carnes he was using his wheelchair “as an excuse.” bring on his excuses afterwards?
    Is on the bar written that Moosehead is a Panthers’ bar?
    Neilsen said his employees are trained to separate possible combatants, in an effort to defuse such situations, but that Sunday, staff members they clearly proofed not to be able to handle such a situation rightly. taking the fan to another area of the restaurant was not a bad action, but demanding the victim to leave the restaurant was totally wrong.

  15. I am totally shocked by this. To think of what happened is shameful, although I know it is only hand few of idiots, but it still disgraceful. The owner should do more than just welcome them like them a meal and publicly apologize for his staff not handling it better, like throwing out the other patrons.

  16. Wow, it is crazy how messed up our priorities can be these days. I am glad you posted this to shed some light on the subject.

  17. First off, I whole-heartedly agree with the sentiment of your post, that we are all in this together and should be looking for ways help and support one another. You seem to have a good sense for what matters.

    To give my honest response to the article—and some of the comments that have followed—at the risk of offending some sensibilities: It disappoints me that the main focus of what I’ve read implies that this was a terrible act because it happened to a veteran.

    I don’t mean this to sound like a rant, but what happened to Mr. Carnes and his family could have happened to anyone, and it would have been equally appalling if it had. No one deserves that kind of treatment whether they are in the military, or work part-time at the local burger joint. People have forgotten how to put themselves in someone else’s shoes and imagine how they would feel if they were on the receiving end of their own actions.

    And yes, in agreement with some of the above comments, though I think there is such a thing as healthy competition, let’s remember that ‘sport’ is a synonym for ‘game’ and behave accordingly.

  18. Hi Chris! I have nominated you as one of the bloggers who who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere: The Sunshine Award :)

  19. I just can’t believe it! I’m Spanish and I don’t know if that kind of things would happen here (I’ve never heard about such a thing before), and it make me think about what we really are; the mankind, in general.
    My boyfriend liles soccer (Real Madrid) but, if he meets someone who likes Barcelona, they just joke about it: your team is the worst, Messi is dwarf, etc. People shouldn’t make it personal; there is a million of more important things to be worried about, right?
    Poor man, the one you show us.

  20. When others show their ignorance (ie the ‘sports fans’ in the restaurant) it’s up to the rest of us to respond with love and understanding. Then hopefully the ones living out of hate and stupidity (sorry, but that’s what it is) maybe will learn their mistakes. That’s why blog posts like yours are important – to show that MOST of us respect and thank those who serve.

  21. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving and are in the midst of a great Thanksgiving weekend!

  22. I am not a fan of sports, and certainly not to the point of abusing someone of their personal choice. I do have a great respect for the men and women who choose to keep us a free nation. If you wish to find out how to help serve them back, then click here: Thank you.

  23. I love my team, and I have for almost 40 years (Go Steelers!).
    But, after all…it’s a game, folks. It’s entertainment. This isn’t like soccer in Europe, where if a goalie accidentally knocks in a goal they hunt him down and kill him (yes, that has happened). Jerry Seinfeld once said, you don’t cheer for a player, you cheer for a uniform (“That guy used to play for us, now he plays for them! BOOO! BOOO!”). Some don’t see a human being in there.

  24. Together we can make a difference.

  25. Love how you say ‘We are all in this together’. Just wish a few more people thought the same!

  26. The world could be a better place . . .

  27. Ah, the Saints and the Scoundrels are often within arm’s length…

    As always, great post, Chris.

    Billy Ray

  28. Be ashamed. Lately this phrase has fit way too many things.

  29. Hey Chris, thrilled to have you following my challenge – hope you enjoy it as it unfolds over the next few months!

  30. Chris, thanks for stopping by, and following. North Carolina! How exotic. Evocative of the Civil War. For someone who has never been to the USA, it is redolent of tobacco, rebellion, and sultry summers. Regards, Pete. (England)

  31. Matthew 25:36. It is a major part of what drive me. My part is prison ministry, working 24/7 to find new recruits for Kairos.

  32. Really disturbing even though I admit it doesn’t surprise me that this happened. I just wish people tapped their understanding more often than their ignorance. Thanks for your post. I appreciate it.

  33. I thank you Chris for sharing the post as its very sad and regretting… absolutely heart breaking. May the whole man kind be able to feel the sorrows of each other and try to become a helping hand not the hurting one Ameen

  34. Our perspectives are off when we group individuals in such a way that we don’t accept. It is upsetting and it happens all of the time maybe not to this extent. You are right…we are all in this together. I still say we should be inclusive rather than exclusive. Thank you and please take care.

  35. this thing is pretty common in where i live..Bangladesh..people ready to unleash their fury at each other on the first chance they get… may they be knowledge-d some day…

  36. Deep post. I share your view on the situation. What’s the point in getting so riled up over other teams’ fans? I guess I don’t quite get it because I’m really not a sports person. I believe everyone gets what’s coming to them, and I think it holds true in this case. Someday those people harassing that poor man will get theirs.

  37. That’s really saddening, they should be ashamed of themselves. Like it really matters what team you support? It’s even more saddening that the restaurant asked them to leave instead of the idiots hurling abuse.

  38. This makes me very sad. My dad served for NZ in Vietnam and he wasn’t welcomed back when his post finished. Growing up as his children, we also wore the guilt and shame of the Vietnam war through his silence. He has only started talking about his experiences in the last ten years. Thank you for writing this post.

  39. There is so much beauty in this country so much to be grateful for and then I hear about this type of unnecessary cruelty and it just makes my heart hurt.

  40. Amen Chris. We all need to embrace each others differences and help those in need. Uplifting one another can be as simple as a smile, or other small act of kindness, done in love. One never knows who is really hurting on the inside, or the impact simple moments can have on a life.

  41. Shameful and so sad! And we wonder why bullying is on the raise among our youth? Adults are the worse bullies of all.

  42. How sad. They should be ashamed of themselves.

  43. It never fails to amaze me the depths of cruelty that people are capable of. It’s one thing that this needlessly happened and yet another that not even one person stood ‘in the gap’ in that moment for what was right. I’m a Canadian but I salute this soldier for his service and sacrifice.

  44. Truly something to think about…are some of these things really as important as we think they are? Thank you!

  45. Excellent …. I agree… They should be ashamed!!!

  46. Great post! It reminds me of a documentary I saw a while back called something like “Five Steps To Tyranny” in which they performed an experiment where they invited a number of Liverpool and Manchester United fans to be interviewed. As each person arrived, another person who was part of the experiment, wearing a Liverpool FC football shirt would fall down on purpose in view of the unwitting participants. The Liverpool fans would rush over to help the fallen fan to their feet, while the United fans, all but a very few, would ignore the stricken Liverpool fan entirely.

    It’s scary to see how humans treat each other so differently based on arbitrary and insignificant differences like sport. It’s sick really, what ever happened to “Live and let live” or “Do unto others as you’d have done unto you”?

    There is a severe lack of empathy in the world, but that’s no excuse to lack it ourselves. LEad and live by example :)

    Excellent post Chris, thanks for sharing!


  47. I am still, and always will be, stunned when I read of how we treat one another over things that truly don’t “matter”. It’s a wonder we can’t pull it together for the important things. Very well said.

  48. Without wanting to sound pugnacious here, the spirit of competition that precipitated this shameless display, which we’ve so blindly enshrined in our culture, is also at root in the very conflicts into which we send such brave men and women. But, hey, what do I know, I never watch sports anyway! Lord, have mercy.

  49. Awesome post Son. Earlier this month CPL Carnes went through another surgery, but is home now recovering. I salute him for his bravery and attitude.

  50. Well said!! (and I’m a Chargers fan….so I know how you feel) :P

  51. I can never understand why people want to hurt each other. There are so many really important problems in the world – like poverty, wars, abuse – that need to be addressed and people are fighting over stupid, petty things that have no importance at all. We all need to stop and think about we should be doing to help other people and try to make this world a better place instead of tearing each other apart.

  52. heartbreaking… not one patriot around to stand up for this soldier..double heartbreaking..thanks for sharing..

  53. How appalling! Thank god there are people like you in this world! I admire all the good you do for so many people! ………Paula xx

  54. Wow. I frankly can’t say what I’d like to in this space.

  55. Ridiculous.
    But then we have pubs here in the UK who won’t serve soldiers after a march through a town because they “don’t serve squaddies in uniform”.

  56. Saddens me to think…Sacrifice is a term so few of us know, and even fewer practice. I was in an old cemetary recently where a tombstone read, “Her’s was a life of sacrifice”…OH that it would be said of me!

  57. thank you – they should be ashamed x.



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