Occasionally, moments pass that renew my hope in the world of men, that there are signs of evolution a midst a myriad of stories that would suggest otherwise. It has been disturbing to watch the NFL implode with story after story of violence and disregard for behavior necessary for a civilized society to thrive. I pay special attention because my youngest son plays football, and wants to continue to play in college. Frankly, I’ve had mixed feelings about participation in a sport that allows, and to some extent has promoted the kind of thuggery that has recently been highlighted.
Then, something happened that calmed my fears and inspired hope that not all football players need go down the same road. This past week my son’s team mate lost his mother to a brave fight with cancer. It is horrible to lose a mother so young. But survival can be eased by a simple grand gesture. The night of the weekly team dinner that the parents provide for the team, they came dressed in their team jerseys and before the meal cheered for their team mate, and all went together along with coaches to support their friend at the wake in his time of great need.
A wake is uncomfortable for everyone, but even more so for tough football players. The fact that they all banded together…close to thirty guys, and entered the funeral home together, quietly and with grace to show their support was, as one physician who was present stated, “the most beautiful gesture”. Words are not always necessary, a quiet, loving presence speaks volumes. The NFL could learn a thing or two from these men.