Timeout on the Field

You don’t have to be a football fan to feel for what happened to Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin on Monday night.

A young man, doing what he loves, collapses and goes into cardiac arrest. One moment normal, the next unbelievable. The game stops, the teammates gather and pray. Timeout on the field.

We don’t want to speculate about what happens next for him. We don’t want to talk about football or the playoff implications, nor should we. This is about life and death, a tragedy and a trauma played out on national television. This is collective shock and grief.

And it is a painful but important reminder.

I’m not trying to be morbid or melodramatic – that’s far too easy. We all know “life is precious” and that we should “make each day count” and that “life can change in an instant.” Cliches and catch phrases are but a temporary salve for our fears.

Instead, we should all take a cue from the NFL. We need a timeout on the field, wherever and whatever you play.

Be present with your loved ones for a while. Do something for someone else. Call a friend just to say hello, or better yet, call someone with whom you had a falling out and apologize.

Play will resume. We will go back to our regular lives and do our work and cheer for our teams and make big deals about little things. But maybe, every once in a while, we can call timeout and remind ourselves why we play in the first place.

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