I'm not going to lie to you: I was only marginally aware of Chris Henry
. I haven't paid much attention to the Cincinnati Bengals
since the days when Boomer Esiason
and Ickey Woods
combined to form the greatest 1-2 punch of name awesomeness in all of sports. Chris Henry just wasn't really on my radar.
Of course, he is now, and for all the wrong reasons. Henry died earlier this morning
, after sustaining injuries in a fall from a moving vehicle. He was 26 years old.
It's easy to forget about the people who play the games we love. They're just the shadows of our own desires and dreams up there on the screen, playing out their parts for our entertainment. We wish horrible tragedies on kickers when they beat our team with a last-second field goal. We scream at the television and insult the parentage of the closer our guys just can't seem to hit. In short, we forget the athletes we follow so closely are human beings. We forget that their lives means something beyond what they do on the stage. I know I do. All the time.
And yet still, when someone so young, so much in the prime of his life, dies so suddenly, it matters. It reminds us (or, at least, it should), that sports are secondary in life, and forces us to look past what we may think of someone as a player on a field and consider the loss of a human being. A human being with friends and family and loved ones who are now hurting for the loss of someone very important.
Chris Henry simply wasn't on my radar much in life. But he was 26 years old and now he's gone. It's a good lesson for all of us, to remember the other side of the people out there on the field from time to time.
I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to the Henry family, and everyone else who cared about this young man.