Tragic news has struck today with the report that Charlie Davies and two others were in a serious single car accident at 3 AM yesterday morning. One passenger was killed immediately, while the other two were taken to the local hospital. I will let the professionals explain all the details. Goff, SBI
Davies will be out for 6 to 12 months at least and will require massive rehabilitation on his broken leg, and while worrisome, it means nothing in comparison to how generally lucky he was. Seeing the picture of the car makes the whole situation hit home even more clearly. However, I have seen accidents and professional athletes hurt before, but none have filled me with this deep sense of sadness like this one has. It was like a classmate, or distant relative was hurt, not an athlete who I have only seen on television. I felt a pain that made me think of the good times I have had with Charlie not on the pitch, but as another young 20-something figuring out the world. I feel a kinship to him, like I know him personally.
I think this is due in large part to the access we get to our favorite stars these days as American soccer fans. The rising talent of US soccer is different from nations like England, and Spain. They grew up doing the same things we did. Playing on little league teams, going through the throes of high school and struggling in college. Now, they are out in a world they love and we love. They use twitter to tell us anything from their feelings after a crushing loss to the hottest new song they just heard. They update their facebooks with pictures of parties and their normal (in comparison to WAGS) girlfriends showing us that while being stars, they are, in fact, young, immature and human, just like me. European starlets don’t seem the same in this sense. I don’t feel any connection to them beyond the fact that they play football, and I love football. Beyond that, I don’t know who they are or what they do with their spare time. The connection isn’t as strong because since they are stars, they lead such different lives from such an early age. Guys like Wayne Rooney, or Cesc Fabregas have spent their entire lives in academies designed to make them great players, but I have no connection to them. I did not spend time in those academies.
Of course there are other reasons why I wouldn’t feel a kinship to these players and do for American players; like their different nationality, my lack of exposure to them on the national team or many others, but my argument is that some of this American affection is in part due to the fact that players like Davies, Jozy Altidore, and Stuart Holden are easy to relate too, and through this, they are easy to love, cheer for, and worry about like a friend of the family.
Look across the blogosphere today and the rest of this week, and you will see a coming together, a unification of bloggers, intent not to talk about strategies and point totals, but of a common heartfelt sorrow for a young man who may never have the career he was destined to have before this fateful day.
My thoughts are with Charlie and his family, and I hope he has a speedy recovery from his injuries.
The USMNT faces off against Costa Rica Wednesday night. During the 9th minute, do something special for Charlie Davies, the number 9 for the US Men’s National Team. I will be in my home holding a candle and thinking positive thoughts.