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Posted by on Apr 9, 2012 in Recent | 2 comments

More than a game

Football isn’t life or death, it’s much more important than that.

No matter who that line is attributed to. I have often chuckled at it, and I will again someday soon. Not today.

Today is a day you dread but always know is coming. You see, it seems my life revolves around fĂștbol, but believe it or not this is only a hobby.

In real life I work for the Fire Department of my fair city. I phrase it that way on purpose, not to obfuscate but because if this gets published in a wider fourm, my bosses will be more than happy to give me some forced time off for representing the department without permission. Like they did to another friend of mine I buried last year and they wrote a great article about in this months Philadelphia Magazine.

Last night, in the cold and wind while I was sleeping safe at home after a wonderful Easter day with family, two men died.

Two men I know, not knew, KNOW, no one is ever gone forever on my job. They live forever on plaques in their stations and in the sidewalk in front of the building they perished trying to save, and every morning during a class of new recruits when the names of every single man (there has yet to be a female firefighter die in the line if duty here) is read aloud in bunches before the days work begins. In a thousand different ways they live on.

Except they don’t. It makes me nauseous to write that, but they don’t, they die. They go to work one day and they never come home. That is the brutal reality for the families of these men. All because they simply did their job.

I am not here banging the drum, and I will never, ever throw the “H” word around. I know why I do what I do and what we are like when the doors are closed and the rest of the world is asleep. Heroic isn’t a word that comes to mind.

I do know that on September 12th, 2011 and several times after, I have had to discuss things most people would rather not with their spouses and immediate family. Its all part of the package. My family knows what to do and what to do with me in the event I go to work one day and never come home.

Its the reason the last words I say to them when I leave are “I love you”, because there is always the chance those will be the last words they ever hear me say and I want it to be clear.

So please take a minute today and forget all the bullshit trappings that my department, my city, and even my union will try to wrap it up in, and please just simply remember the two men who will never get to say “I Love You” to the people who mattered to them the most.

Today is just one tragic day among many for us. I will save my anger and sadness for another forum. Here, today I just want everyone to go home and tell everyone that matters to you how you feel, because tonight there are two families who will have the chance to do it again.

We will resume normal operations tomorrow.

 

2 Comments

  1. It was Bill Shankly who had the quote you are talking about. Sorry to hear about your friends. It certainly does make everything on the pitch irrelevant.

    • Actually it supposedly was Vince Lombardi who said it first, hence the vagueness. Although it gets attributed to Shankly quite a bit