By: Aron Yohannes
Torrey Smith is currently in the midst of a career year in Baltimore with the Ravens. As a receiver, Smith is currently on pace to set new career marks in receptions, total receiving yards, and yards per reception. During the offseason, the Ravens traded away their number one receiver, Anquan Boldin, to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for a sixth-round draft pick. Leaving Smith, and veteran speedster Jacoby Jones as the only two primary targets in the Ravens passing game for Joe Flacco. Jones suffered an MCL sprain in the first game of the season against the Broncos, requiring Smith to elevate his play being the lone target in the passing game for the first five games.
For those who don’t follow the NFL religiously, Smith tragically lost his younger brother, Tevin, in a motorcycle accident in September of 2012. Less than 24 hours after his brother’s unfortunate death, Smith scored two touchdowns in the Ravens 31-30 win over the New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football. That game has arguably been Smith’s best game of his entire career so far. Watching Torrey's performance that night inspired and helped me gain the utmost respect for him. Not only just as a football player, but as a man.
My brother Samson passed away in December of 2010 in his apartment from a stroke. I remember that night of me finding out the news and rushing to his apartment like it was yesterday. I vividly remember the emotions that I went through that night sitting on the ground of his apartment complex and still think about all of the questions I asked myself. Standing in the cold outside, I watched the body of my older brother Samson get carried out on a stretcher right in front of me. My brother Simon and I cried together in the hallway that night sitting on the floor, and for the first time in my life, I saw Simon cry, and I had never seen that before. Never in my life do I want to experience a night like that ever again, but it’s inevitable, I know pain like that will occur again.
Due to the vast amount of people staying at my house to comfort my mom and dad, I slept at a close friend’s house. I stayed there for a couple of days just until I was ready emotionally to be with my family. In an Eritrean household, the death of a family member is mourned upon for days, weeks, and months inside the house. People are constantly at your house throughout the day for comfort and praying is a continuous ritual aloud as the day goes on. I was only a high school student at the time, so I hope you all can understand how difficult it was for me to stay at home. It was the toughest moment of my entire life, so I hope you’ll understand more of why I couldn’t stay at home during the whole process.
When I first initially heard of the tragic news that involved Torrey Smith, it brought back all of the emotions that I had to go through when I lost my brother. All of the previous emotions that poured out from inside of me reoccurred. The pain of dealing with the death of my brother was still fresh in my mind, and it still is today.
The option of Torrey even playing in that game didn’t even pass through my thick skull at the time. While watching that entire game, I remember watching him specifically on most plays just to see if anything affected his routes or hands on the field. His play elevated that night, and in my mind I thought he would sit out, but he didn’t, he played that night and balled.
Torrey Smith did something that I, and most people today, wouldn’t emotionally be able to do. Watching him play that night shocked me, he persevered and it inspired me to fight through what I was going through just like he did. As he continues to play football at a high level, he inspires me to keep moving every single day and continue as a journalist, for my brother.
This December will be the third year that has gone by since Samson passed away. It’s still surreal to me that my brother is gone, but as each year goes by, I become stronger mentally. At times I still wonder how I can persevere, but Torrey Smith showed me that I can still attack and take what is mine in life. Despite what may be taken away from me along the way.
Someday I hope I'll have the chance to shake hands with Torrey Smith in person. That way I can let him know about the level of respect I have for him. Not as a sports broadcaster, writer or even a student, but as a man.
Thank you, Torrey Smith.
Behind the Broadcaster
This blog displays topics that interest me -- including culture, entertainment, music, and life experiences.