Robert Enke, R.I.P.

Last week, German goalkeeper Robert Enke committed suicide by stepping in front of an oncoming train near his home in Hanover. He was, by all standard metrics, a successful professional athlete: once a promising youngster, he had spent time abroad for clubs like Benfica and Barcelona; a consistent contributor to the national team, he had earned a roster spot for next summer's World Cup; he was a star and crowd favorite for his current team, Hannover 96. But he was also apparently a very depressed man still haunted by the death of his two-year-old daughter back in 2006. There was a service for him in Germany this week, and his devastated, World Cup-bound teammates--from whom he hid the depths of his illness--composed this deeply moving letter:

"Your death for us is still omnipresent. It has made us all speechless, stunned, helpless ... We were not able to put our grief into words ... We could not simply go about business as usual. We have long sat together and thought of you. We have been silent together, cried together and searched for answers together, but in fact found only more questions - agonising questions of 'Why could not we help you? Why did you not want to talk to us about your problems? Why is it that, in our competitive society, it is not possible to express fears over such illnesses?' It is for all of us a painful thought that you felt so alone and in need, even if you were with us. For you there was so much more at stake than for any other of us. Your death is so bleak. But we will do everything we can to carry on in your memory, play good football to be successful. And we will do our best to ensure that stigma and prejudice have no place in football"  (via the Fiver)
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Hua Hsu teaches in the English Department at Vassar College and writes about music, sports, and culture. More

Hua Hsu teaches in the English Department at Vassar College and writes about music, sports, and culture. His work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, Bookforum, Slate, The Village Voice, The Boston Globe Ideas section and The Wire (for whom he writes a bi-monthly column). He is on the editorial board for the New Literary History of America.

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