I’m sad. No, I didn’t lose a friend or a family member. Steve Irwin’s death won’t affect my day-to-day life. But I’m still sad because someone I deeply admired and respected has died.
The first time I saw the Crocodile Hunter shows, I thought he was nuts. That’s why I watched, to see what crazy thing he’d do next. But as I continued watching, my opinion changed. It was clear to me he wasn’t performing a stunt for the camera. He was interacting with the animals he loved in an effort to teach the world to love them too. It’s easy to convince us to love cute and fluffy animals, but Steve took on a greater challenge, hoping to convince us to at least respect the animals we usually fear. He didn’t do it to get a ratings point – he did it because he was truly passionate about wildlife conservation. I’m sure there are those who would say he “got what was coming” because he took so many risks. But I know I learned a lot watching his shows, and I believe that’s why he did the things he did. Not just for an adrenaline rush, but for something much nobler.
And his shows also revealed another side of him. The family side. There was a whole episode dedicated to how he met and fell in love with his wife, Terry. Another episode detailed the arrival of his first child. He seemed like a very caring husband and father, and a lot of fun too. I can’t imagine how hard his loss must be for them. The youngest child will mostly remember his father through his documentaries and videos.
While I’m glad we at least have those documentaries, I’m still sad because I believe, had he survived, he would have continued being a fantastic teacher for so many more years.