Trevor Tierney on the Huguely-Love Tragedy

Honestly, the tremendous sadness that I now feel is over the fact that alcohol has once again contributed in ruining two more lives, along with the lives of their families. Let me be clear though, alcohol is never an EXCUSE, but I believe it was a major FACTOR in this case. One of the most poignant pieces of evidence that came out in the trial was a letter that Huguely had written to Love, shortly before her death. Chillingly, it read, "Alcohol is ruining my life ... I'm scared to know that I can get that drunk to the point where I cannot control ... how I act."

There are a multitude of other psychological and emotional factors that could be involved with the Huguely case. But, it seems to me that if he was a stick of dynamite, alcohol was the match that lit the fuse. There was little evidence that Huguely was violent in any way, shape or form when he was not drinking, but when he was drunk, there was serious trouble.

Being inebriated though, is not an excuse for any action and it is an explanation that holds little weight in the court of law, for good reason. We cannot have people running around in our society doing whatever they want to do and then just explaining, "But, I was drunk!" This is a huge lesson that young people (and some adults) must learn. Everytime people go out and get drunk, then they are playing with fire and putting their own lives and the lives of others at risk.

So, they are responsible for the choice of whether to drink or not and the consequences of that decision. Huguely chose to keep drinking, despite the fact that he had run into some problems and despite the fact that he realized he was out of control. It is an absolute shame to me that Huguely waited too long to get help. His decision to keep drinking heavily is one that he certainly must be regretting a great deal at this point. What is worse though, is that this decision was a contributing factor in the death of Yeardley Love.

Now, some people are pointing their finger at our sport. People are saying that lacrosse is the problem as it is filled with over-privileged people who become monsters from playing a violent game. Their statements are ignorant though and they have no idea about how much lacrosse has grown throughout the country, the different walks of life participating and the number of amazing people who permeate our game. Lacrosse is a tight-knit family and we all care about each other at the end of the day, despite all the competition that we are active in with each other.

At the same time though, lacrosse does have a problem. There is a tremendous amount of alcohol abuse and alcoholism in our game. The rest of us are enablers because we simply look the other way as these problems continue to persist. These abnormal and unhealthy behaviors are so rampant in our small world that they fade into being considered as normal and acceptable. In our culture, it's not viewed as strange or unhealthy to get totally obliterated on a weekly basis. Go to the NCAA Lacrosse Final Four. Go to any one of the coaches' conventions. Go to an after-party at a pro game. Go to a college dorm or bar on a Saturday night. Tell me what you see players, coaches and fans doing at all those places; it's not just moderate drinking for the most part, it's a lot of people getting absolutely wasted.

I'm not the only one pointing this out either. The NCAA has even released studies that found that the sport of lacrosse has the highest rate of alcohol and drug abuse in college athletics. Just the fact alone that a guy like Huguely can thrive in our culture and not get called out on behaving in manners that are completely unnacceptable, shows that our entire lacrosse world is skewed in some way.

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2012-02-24



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