When I heard Utah State University guard Danny Berger had stopped breathing and his heart quit momentarily at a practice yesterday, well, my heart stopped, too.
I felt for him, but even more for his family. An hour earlier he was a ballplayer at a college basketball program. Now he’s a patient at Intermountain Medical Center.
He’s also still a kid.
This happened just a few days after former Ute coach Rick Majerus died of heart failure. It reminded me again that there are people behind those numbers and names.
I say this because fandom has reached harsh new proportions. I’m still sometimes taken aback at the things that are said about athletes and coaches in the social media. Not criticism of their games, or even fair commentary on someone’s tendencies. Not good-natured teasing. It’s a lot of vicious things.
So when it comes to razzing the opposition, I’d suggest that fans remember not to make it too personal.
The death of Majerus and the health problems of Berger reminded me again that everyone has a mother, a sister, a friend, a dad.
I’m hoping Berger returns to torment his opponents with his play. I won’t mind if the opposition boos him at the free throw line. But I’m also hoping nobody crosses the line of propriety.
Everyone has someone that loves them. It just takes a week like this to realize it.