At Redwood High in Larkspur, Ca., Pete Carroll was an elite football player despite the fact that he was so light, he required a doctor's clearance to play the game. Carroll starred as a quarterback, receiver and defensive back, and he was inducted into the school's Hall of Fame in 2009. Long before he became an assistant and head coach of renown, Carroll was an athlete -- and a good one.
At Redwood High in Larkspur, Ca., Carroll's classmate, Robin Williams, was heavily involved in the drama department, and was voted "Funniest" and "Most Likely Not to Succeed." Well, that second vote was obviously a canard. Long before he was one of the most celebrated, successful and beloved comedians and actors of his day, Williams showed great potential in the dramatic arts.
Williams and Carroll graduated in the same year, and went their separate ways -- Carroll to a long and fruitful career in football, Williams as a defining force in his own mediums. On Monday, 63-year-old Williams committed suicide, leaving the world shocked and saddened. While Carroll had his own things to deal with -- ramping his team into shape following the first Super Bowl win in franchise history -- he took a moment when asked by the media to reflect on the star he went to high school with.
"Oh, it’s a tremendous loss," Carroll said after Monday's training camp practice. "We were not real close. We were in the same graduating class and all that. But everybody knew that he was there. It’s a huge loss. What an extraordinary personality and character. He’s been so constantly great for so long. This is a terrible loss for everybody that loved him so much. It’s really a hard day, hard day."
Both men had gone though their share of rough times, though Williams' were obviously more serious. Williams had dealt with depression and substance abuse issues, and for whatever reasons, he could not shake those demons.
Two young men in one high school. Both took their paths to the very pinnacles of their professions. One survived the ride; one did not. That's how random and confusing life -- and success -- can be.