Fame, death, and legacy

Have you ever stopped and asked: What if someone -- whether a world-renowned singer or acclaimed dancer -- weren't famous? Would they still leave the same legacy?

In a blog post two days ago, I wrote about Jose Fernandez, a promising baseball star who died in a boating accident in Miami Beach on Sunday morning. Two other men on the boat -- both friends of his -- were also killed.

The outpouring of grief across South Florida since the accident is unlike anything I've ever seen in baseball -- and in the community as a whole.

Jose became something of a celebrity in his hometown and all around baseball, not only for his amazing talent but because of the energy he radiated on and off the field. You'd be hard-pressed not to find him smiling at, hugging, or laughing with someone.

The two other men who died in the accident were not ballplayers or anyone famous -- they were just two regular young men whose lives were tragically cut short. Not surprisingly, Jose's friends haven't been covered nearly as much by the media as Jose himself.

If Jose hadn't made it to the major leagues -- which he accomplished thanks to his hard work and the sacrifices he made to come to this country -- we might never have known who he was.

It's interesting to consider that, had stars like Rihanna, Beyonce, Eminem, Michael Jordan, and Clint Eastwood not made it big, they'd likely be regular folks we'd walk past on the street.

Obviously, being famous can mean the difference between having thousands mourn you when you die versus only a handful of people. You not only have a circle of friends and family, but a fan base that could very well span the globe. And when famous people die, their loyal followers feel and react as if someone very close to them has passed, even if they never met them.

We all know that fame is part and parcel of being rich and famous. Before Justin Bieber became the worldwide phenomenon he is today, he was uploading videos on Youtube of himself singing.

But not everyone seeks fame and glory. Some people relish their privacy and would much rather live a simpler life, even if it means remaining obscure their whole lives.

I know I would not be able to live with paparazzi chasing me around all day.  If that means I'm less known, so be it.

When you're in the public eye, your every move is scrutinized, and you'll always have detractors who have no qualms about pointing out your missteps. Ask Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Thus, not everyone would be willing to trade a normal life for all the accolades of fame. And once you're gone, how many attend your funeral isn't important. It's the impact you made on the special people in your life that really counts.

In other words, being a small fish in a big pond really isn't as bad as some people make it out to be.

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