Once Houston Rockets rookie Royce White tweeted in defense of missing the start of training camp, it was clear what the young forward is trying to do for himself, and even the team to some degree.
White suffers with anxiety, a mental illness of sorts. Contributing to the anxiety issues, and now perhaps the biggest one for his situation being a professional basketball player, is the fear of flying. It was said to be a red flag in the draft for teams who picked before the Rockets selected White with the No. 16 pick.
Houston knew the risk it was taking. Obviously the brass thought it was worth it at the time, even if that's when the Rockets were trying to create packages for Dwight Howard. Who knows, what if this was a negative point the Howard trade talks?
It's easy to get all worked up about White's anxiety issues, but he's doing the opposite -- taking it in stride and dealing with it early. If this is going to work out, he has to be willing to do whatever it takes to condition himself to be mentally with the team. White has never had a problem with that, from what we know. We also don't know of him ever playing an 82-game schedule that takes him across the country... normally by flight.
There's not a better time for training and treatment than training camp, right?
Here's White on Twitter Wednesday night:
There is nothing but very positive strides being taken right now between I and the @houstonrockets to support health. Thank You! #Rockets— Royce White (@Highway_30) October 4, 2012
This innovative plan is being well thought out by both parties, when it's done I think an executable plan will be there... A healthy plan.— Royce White (@Highway_30) October 4, 2012
Anxiety isn't keeping me from the camp, taking a Proactive approach to my mental illness instead of reactive is. #StayingAheadOfMyDisorder— Royce White (@Highway_30) October 4, 2012
Without knowing the details of his treatment, or how genuine the Rockets are about supporting White and whether or not they expected him to come up missing at camp, this still sounds like the smart thing to do.
SB Nation's own Evan Dunlap, who suffers from anxiety and depression himself, had some really good insight on this:
I'm on a medication regimen and talk to a counselor on a regular basis in order to manage these illnesses. And yet every day is a struggle: anxiety disorder and depression aren't mere bugaboos which one simply conquers and puts in one's past. They do not go away. Those who suffer from these illnesses must work proactively to keep them at bay.
So there's that.