Upon completion of WVU’s basketball loss at Oklahoma State, I was disappointed Monday evening.
Bad Mountaineer loss in a half-empty arena. And what about that technical on Erik Stevenson?
Within seconds, however, that disappointment yielded to horror. To dismay. A flip of the channel from ESPNU to ESPN, where the Buffalo Bills were playing the Cincinnati Bengals in a primetime Monday Night Football showdown, showed the opposite of fun. The opposite of entertainment.
For we saw Buffalo defensive back Damar Hamlin suffering from what we now know was cardiac arrest following a hit in the game.
The stadium stood still. Our nation stood still.
All we cared about was the health of the former Pitt standout who earned his dream job after being drafted in the sixth round.
Stunned, we watched. And, if you were like me, you were irritated when there was talk of resuming the game Monday night.
“As an ER doc, I can 100 percent tell you that after cardiac arrest, CPR and defibrillation (AED), there is no way any provider will say Damar Hamlin is ‘okay’ anytime soon,” wrote Craig Spencer MD on social media. “Cancel the game NFL. Let people be together.”
We saw, though, the players – who probably spend more time together than they do with their families – being together. Crying. Consoling. Supporting.
They weren’t going back out there Monday night. Not with their brother down. And the NFL had to also consider those not down. There’s trauma with which to deal. If you’ve ever suffered with it in any fashion, which I have, you understand.
On Twitter, talking head Skip Bayless uncorked this: “No doubt the NFL is considering postponing the rest of this game, but how? This late in the season, a game of this magnitude is crucial to the regular-season outcome… which suddenly seems so irrelevant.”
Yes, at the end of the tweet he wrote about the game’s irrelevancy, but even asking about the game in that moment made us sick.
Yet in this post-Christmas season, something wonderful then happened: an amazing outpouring of support, which washed away nonsense like seaweed in the ocean.
There were no favorite teams. There were no rivals. The best of us came together to support this 6-foot Buffalo Bill defensive back, one few of us had ever heard of until Monday night.
It’s almost like the Beatles’ song “Imagine,” which says, “Imagine there’s no countries; It isn’t hard to do.”
Most of the time, it is hard to imagine us coming together, especially in recent times. But I’m seeing the best of us rallying around Hamlin, hoping, praying, CARING.
We’ve seen millions of dollars in donations for Hamlin’s community toy drive. Thousands have sent prayers and love through social media, which can be used for quite the opposite too much.
Anyone that’s been around sports must have so many thoughts right now. Hamlin’s status. The welfare of his family. The trauma of the players on that field. What about the other NFL, college and youth players watching?
Someone suggested this is a good opportunity to learn/re-learn CPR. That’s a great idea. Heck, it doesn’t have to be for an athlete, but a co-worker. Let the love spread beyond football.
Anyway, for now football has stopped for me. I don’t need to know about the NFL regular season or postseason schedule.
I need to hear what’s happening with Damar Hamlin.
I need to support him.
And it warms my heart that I’m certainly not alone.
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Mitch Vingle covered sports in West Virginia for 38 years. Follow Mitch on Twitter at @MitchVingle and be sure to check out the rest of Wheelhouse Creative’s website for your marketing and advertising needs. If interested, call us at 304-905-6005.