Perspective: Burts Eye View

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Burt Ross

Just a Game

by Burt Ross

It was frightening for all of us who witnessed earlier this month a young man in the prime of his life collapse on the gridiron after tackling his opponent. One moment he was performing at the top of his game, and then there he was, lying in the middle of the field receiving CPR.

Many of us, including me, take our sports very seriously. We occasionally bet on a game, care passionately about who wins and who loses, and sometimes we even become elated or even depressed by the results of an athletic contest. We become so involved in the sporting event that we almost think it is a matter of life and death, and then we see Damar Hamlin lying there, and we suddenly realize that it can be a matter of life and death.

What we watch in person or on television is just a game played by real people. It is not a video game. And when one of these athletes is lying on the ground fighting for his life, reality sets in. The football players on both teams realized almost immediately when their colleague collapsed that nothing was more important than his recovery. Giants of men wept openly. Nobody was thinking about the game, because it was just a game.

I remember back in 1989 when game three of the World Series between the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants was interrupted by a major earthquake. Players walked onto the field, some accompanied by family members, and you could see the fear on their faces. You could hear the sound of concern in the voices of the announcers. Nobody was talking about the game, because it was just a game.

POSTSCRIPT: Thanks to the rapid and expert response by well-trained medical personnel, Damar may well make a full recovery!