Football is pretty important to us, isn't it? So is basketball and baseball and for that matter music and which restaurant we want to patronize on Saturday night.

We all spend a lot of time thinking about things that we deem important in our lives. We even take our jobs too seriously.

I mean really, how many of us are saving the planet or have a job that will stop the world on its axis if we don't spend every waking minute thinking about it?

When Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry died last week after falling out of the back of a truck - supposedly during an argument with his fiance - it brought an entire professional football team to tears.

The Bengals lost a promising young talent, a guy who if he had not broken his forearm earlier this season, would have been a key to a playoff run.

The loss of Henry on the field was a concern for a team that is likely to win its division, a team that already lost Aberdeen's Reggie Kelly, its starting tight end, for the season with a ruptured Achilles' tendon.

The loss of Henry off the field made the on-field loss seem less than unimportant. The Bengals had already lost a wide receiver who could have helped them in a playoff run. On Tuesday though, the team traveled together to New Orleans to bury more than a teammate.

They said their goodbyes to a father, a soon-to-be-husband, a son and a grandson, all titles which make his title of Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver seem meaningless.

And for what? Who knows what the couple was fighting about. In all likelihood, it was the same stuff that we all spend so much time stressing over, so much time arguing over and so much time thinking and fighting about, instead of having dinner with our families, spending time with our spouses, telling our kids we love them and taking a day away from the office to carry them to the zoo.

Life is over for Chris Henry. Sunday, life ended for Brittany Murphy, a movie star. No, a wife, a woman who said she wanted a family, a daughter and a friend.

Henry was 26. Murphy was 32.

They didn't know when their time would be up and nor do we, but while we're here, maybe we could all just take a different approach to the things that frankly mean nothing in the long run and take a meaningful approach to the things and people who do.

That's a pretty good Christmas wish, 2010 resolution and lifetime goal that those who have passed on would love to come back and tell us. I'm pretty sure it's what Friday's birthday boy has been trying to tell us for some 2,000 years.

Brandon Speck is the sports editor of the Monroe Journal. He can be reached at (662) 256-5647 or

Brandon Speck/Monroe Journal

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