A Little Kindness Goes A Long Way

A long time ago, it was common for me to write about current events, offering my perspective. I had a whole blog and for a short time even had a newspaper column wherein I could write about anything I wanted. It’s quite rare for me to do that these days, as social media has made opinions, including mine, worth less than a dime a dozen, even adjusted for inflation. But at the end of this first week of the new year, I can’t resist. And I’m probably gonna piss a few people off.

I’m seeing and hearing a lot of ugliness out there concerning the Monday Night Football game when Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed after a routine tackle and went into cardiac arrest.

First off, let’s strip this down a little. A 24 year-old young man in peak physical condition pursued and achieved his dream of playing professional football for the entertainment of others. And because of a fluke occurrence in the human anatomy ( which could happen to any of us ) he dropped dead on national TV.

Have you ever seen someone die? I have, countless times. It’s not pretty, and despite what you’ve seen on Grey’s Anatomy, ER or countless other medical dramas, neither is CPR.Or any other part of the resuscitation attempts for that matter. Honestly, it can be downright brutal and traumatic for a lot of people to see.

And so not only did his teammates see that, so too did an entire stadium of fans. And millions more sitting in their recliner brushing potato chip crumbs off of their shirt.

What I’m getting at here is people are gonna talk about it. They’re gonna care. Well, most will. They’re following his story, praying for him to have a full recovery.

To the best of my knowledge, this is an unprecedented event that has led to a lot of speculation about what the league will do. And a lot of that decision making seems slanted towards not what’s best for the league, which, let’s face it, is a business. It’s been what’s best for Hamlin, what’s best for his teammates, and what’s best for the players overall.

If you ask me, it’s been pretty amazing to see people come together in care and concern for a person, be they family, friend, or complete stranger.

Which is why it’s so disappointing to hear and read the flippantly nasty comments some people choose to make. Like:

“If I dropped dead/ had a heart attack, the whole world isn’t going to stop for me.”

No, but YOUR world would. For about a week anyhow, or however long it took to put you in the ground. His “world” is just a little bigger.

“No one would donate millions of dollars…”

Of course not. But they’d bring your family food, send flowers to the hospital or funeral home. They may make a donation to the charity of your choice if one was listed in your obituary.

“He’s no better/ more important than us…I don’t get all the drama… people drop dead every day, what about them?”

Who ever said he was better than you or I? You know, we have a serious problem I call “whataboutism” in this country that maybe I’ll pontificate about some other day.

But for now, go back and re-read paragraphs 3-5. With millions of witnesses, including HIS FAMILY AND FRIENDS, a young man collapsed and was clinically dead. Take away his fame and his salary, doesn’t that at least warrant some empathy, if not compassion? You know, the same as you’d hope for if you suffered some misfortune, or God forbid, dropped dead?

Because at the end of the day, that’s all this is about. It’s about basic human decency and kindness.

I think I’ve gone on long enough that you get my point, but if not, it’s this: Even if you care not one iota about Damar Hamlin, the very least you can show some empathy, some concern.

And if not, perhaps it’s best to just shut the hell up.

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