I’m way late to this horrible story, but while skimming along a friend’s Facebook page I came across the news of Quentin Lupo, a high school basketball player who committed suicide with a gunshot wound to the head in mid-April.
Although he’s from my neck of the woods (Putnam/Northern Westchester in New York), I’d never heard of Lupo. He was, judging from his YouTube highlight reel, a very solid gunner for Pleasantville High. Probably not a Division I baller, but a kid who could, shoot, pass, make things happen.
More important, he was … a future. Quentin Lupo would have gone to college. He would have met someone. They would have married. Had a few kids. He’d have taken that trip to Hawaii. Maybe Australia. He’d work. A doctor, perhaps. Or lawyer. Writer. Plumber. Who knows? He’d still play hoops. Maybe DIII, maybe just intramural.
As George Bernard Shaw rightly noted, “youth is wasted on the young.” At 18, problems seem insurmountable and unalterable. Here, at 45, I can look back at a cheating girlfriend, or a failed test, and chuckle. Those situations serve to build us up and prepare us for inevitable hardships. But as a teenager, you’re woefully unprepared. You don’t think about the long journey ahead. Moments feel nuclear and explosive. A public rejection might take place before four eyes, but they feel like 400. A D- may well simply reflect a week of insufficient sleep. But, in the mind of the adolescent, the grade is the different between Yale and community college.
I don’t know the answer here. But I think of Quentin Lupo’s family, forever to be haunted, and I struggle to find the light.