I had a whole different plan for today's post until last night. As many of you know, I'm a music person, through and through. I feel like I have musical notes running through my veins and I always have songs playing in my head. So when I heard the tragic news about Whitney Houston last night, I was shocked at first, then incredibly sad and extremely reflective.
I was working at Turtle's when Whitney's first CD came out. Everyone was awed by her talent and beauty. So many gifts were given to one person and we all knew she'd go far. Not even the sky would limit her. But we are all human and Whitney had her flaws. We've see similar stories in so many different walks of life. River Phoenix and Heath Ledger. Len Bias. Aaron Douglas of the Crimson Tide. Derek Boogaard of the NHL. And in baseball, journeyman Ken Caminiti. Some made one fatal mistake. Others were caught in a long downward spiral. It's hard to understand. They seemed to have it all. They didn't.
We all know what ties Whitney Houston to the sporting world. 1991. Super Bowl XXV in Tampa. Whitney re-wrote the book on how our National Anthem should be performed. From now until the end of time, no matter how brilliantly any artist performs that song, the comment will be, "Yes, it was good, but it wasn't as good as Whitney Houston." In fact, Whitney's rendition was so good and so uplifting that it was released as a CD single. It flew off the shelves. I still have one.
I heard someone compare Whitney Houston's tragic life to that of Judy Garland. I thought it was a a good comparison. So much talent destroyed by personal demons and bad choices. I know quite a few people who encountered Whitney when she lived in Atlanta. Some said she was breathtaking and kind. Others said she was barely recognizable. I want to remember her as the diva who lifted a nation and drew us together when we so desperately needed it.