"I was having a nervous breakdown on national television and no one could see it."
-- Tommy Edwards in our interview for John Carlin's Virginia.
|We interviewed on his front porch in Roanoke.|
Let me explain what I mean by "edge." There's an edge we think of as the "cliff." Right now the entire nation is watching the president and congress to see if we can avoid going over the fiscal cliff. That would be bad.
Tommy has certainly gone over the cliff several times in his life as he has battled mental illness, drugs and alcohol. But there's another "edge" as well. And that edge is only seen by folks who have talent beyond everyday people. Tommy's talents have taken him to places most people could never achieve. His edges are often as close to greatness as they are calamity.
|Tommy does a hand plant.|
Tommy has seen higher highs and lower lows than 99-percent of us. He's led the league in rushing. He's created his own skateboard company. He's recorded multiple CD's from his part-time home in Nashville. But he's also suffered from too many bangs to the head (from football and skateboard accidents). He suffers from mental illness that has not always been under control. He's been homeless.
This is a tough story to tell in a TV news segment. Tommy's story really deserves treatment in a longer form -- a documentary, reality TV segment or a book.
In tv news we interview our subjects, do some research, take some video and put it on the news. Tommy's doesn't fit very well in that format. There's just too much.
|Tommy keeping life "in balance"|
And now, with the internet, I can share additional information about Tommy's talents by providing you with links to his Heart of Virginia Foundation, or his music. Click here for a You Tube Video that shows some of his football prowess and ends with his musical talents.
He's sharing the dark side of his story as a call to action.
The hook for the TV story was pretty simple: Whatever happened to Touchdown Tommy? What happened to the kid who seemed like a lock for the NFL even when he was at Radford High School? The tv story answers those questions, but who knows where the complicated story of his life will go next? One day the world may look at the body of his work and say, " Wow, he was also a pretty good football player."