Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Every now and then my paying gigs remind me to how small, in the grand scheme of things, most of the stuff associated with sports really is. Don't get me wrong - I love athletics, and I think participation is important for our children for many reasons - health, learn how to both win and lose gracefully, and social interaction/learning how to work as part of a team are all part of it.

For the most part, I love getting paid to write.

Yesterday wasn't one of those days.

Yesterday a fire broke out two blocks from my home. It displaced a family of nine, and while nobody was killed, two children and an elderly woman were taken to the hospital. One of the children, a 12-year old boy, was taken to the local hospital and treated for smoke inhalation. The elderly woman (65), and a little girl (11) were airlifted to a burn center in Washington, DC. The girl, Ashley Beachley, was listed in critical condition with third-degree burns covering half her body. Once stabilized, the girl was airlifted again to the Shriner's Burn Center in Boston.

It really puts into perspective the useless and insulting whining that currently is Brett Favre, Ryan Grant, and Manny Ramirez, and any number of other athletes.

Sure, I generally think these guys get pretty full of themselves in contract talks, but let's face it - we're not talking life and death issues. Well, okay, sometimes they are. Sometimes the story is about a potentially fatal illness - Jon Lester, Joe Andruzzi - but quite often it's about some athlete, some fan or fan base, or some team executive whining and pointing fingers, denying some wrong.

This is something that happens for me every now and then - one of those hard stories (and please don't misunderstand, I'm not trying to come off with a woe-is-me sort of piece here) that reminds you of the triviality of the posturing in which these entertainers engage.

A life cut short in a plane crash.

A student athlete cut down in the streets, his only crime that he was trying to break up a fight.

A man, once on borrowed time, adjusting to life with a new heart.

A slum lord slowing redevelopment of a city neighborhood, while taking advantage of young tenants.

A little girl, burned.

Over the years, these are just some of the stories that have reminded me to keep sports in perspective. I wish a speedy recovery for Ashley, who rode the bus to school with my daughter this year, and I sincerely wish that your first trip to Boston had been under much better circumstances.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this story about Ashley. We (her family) are praying for a quick recovery and I hope that everyone will take a moment to pray for her as well. Thanks again.