Tragedy, Triumph, and a Lesson

From the Sidelines


In the last week we have all been enthralled with what happened to Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin. It is a miracle and I heard today (January 9th) that he is now back in Buffalo to resume his recovery. It is not every day that you see a young man die in front of millions of watchers on t.v., and thousands in the stands. The last week has seen such an outpouring of love and affection for the young man, and everyone rooting for his recovery.

Because of the good heartedness and behavior of this young man, his charity “Chasing M” started out wanting $2500 for toys for children in his hometown. It now has passed 8 million dollars due to the generosity, and caring of people throughout the country. This surely proves the goodness, charity, and kindness we have as human beings. What took so long? Why did this tragedy need to happen to open our eyes to how fragile life and we all are?

I have been thinking about this since I saw it happen. I have never seen a football player have a heart attack on the field while playing. I never thought a 24 year old in great shape would have such an ordeal……but it happened, in front of the whole world. It seemed so…..unreal… unbelievable that such a thing could happen to such a healthy young man. I am sure the doctors will eventually have a reason for this to happen to such a young athlete, but for now, who knows? This makes me wonder if somehow, somewhere some force made this happen. Not to punish this young man, nor to make him suffer, but to teach us all a lesson.

I am a believer in God, as many people are, and I really wonder with all the turmoil in the world, and how divided we are as a nation, that this force Christians call God, did not use Damar as his instrument to send us all a message, and get us back on the right track? I can’t imagine anything else causing such an outpouring of caring and affection like this did. It was such a simple thing, millions of people have heart attacks, but this one was so visible, so enthralling, so unlikely, that it almost seems staged.

As he collapsed on the field, with no heartbeat, all the people who could save his life were available, in the right place at the right time, doing what they were trained to do immediately, without thinking, just reacting. He happened to be in a city that has an excellent medical center that knew how to treat him so quickly, and effectively. Was he just lucky, or does this seem like some grand plan?

He could have died at the hotel, or getting dressed, or walking out of the locker room, but he died very publicly, in front of millions……..why? When Tim Tebow knelt to pray on the football field, people and networks mocked him. When a high school coach (Joe Kennedy) prayed after a game, not asking anyone to join him, the school sued him. (he won.) Yet, last Monday, we saw teams on the field, and people in the stands all kneeling, with hands together, and praying to God to save this young man…..It makes me wonder.

Damar has now asked all of us to give back, as he said he will give back three times the love that he has received. Do you suppose that this message will be received by others like you and I? Did we all get it? I don’t know. All I know is that this one event has temporarily brought us all together, and hopefully we will all stop and smell the roses, enjoy our lives, and families, and each other more now. Sometimes it takes a tragic event to make us see how damn lucky we really are! It is sad it comes to that, but every once in a while we need to have something show us how fortunate we all really are.

Damar’s heart attack was a tragedy that turned out well. Do you think that was just happenstance? Or, is it possible that we all needed this young man to go through this to show us all how fragile and precious life really is. It shows us that we should not take life for granted, nor take each other for granted.

I hope we all can learn from this and be better citizens for our communities, and country. We can come together, and Damar Hamlin, along with some spiritual help, has shown us how. Let’s do not forget how we all felt when we heard that he was still alive and slowly recovering……..let’s keep that feeling! That’s the way I felt, watching from the Sidelines!