The shocking news yesterday about Phil Walsh left everyone in a state of shock. Obviously I can only speak as someone who follows footy and not as someone who knew him or even knew that much about him.
I think the news made me sad because any time someone dies it is generally sad but this story had an even more tragic twist with his son allegedly being the one responsible for it. I read Titus O’Reilly’s lovely piece this morning and he summed up the way in which the average footy fan is affected by this despite never having met this man.
News services ran coverage yesterday of people gathered outside the Adelaide oval dropping off flowers or lighting candles and to some, this must seem odd. To be touched by the passing of one person whom we didn’t know when really there must have been thousands of other deaths yesterday all over the world that we didn’t acknowledge let alone grieve. I remember thinking it odd when there was a huge outpouring of grief when Michael Jackson died. But it seems easier to understand today. I didn’t get Michael Jackson and some people don’t get football and I’m not saying there’s any similarity between the two people. I’m just suggesting that if people like things you like, you feel more like you know them than you would otherwise.
Have you noticed how if you start a new job and you meet a fellow footy supporter, you feel you have more in common with them than others who don’t follow footy? They could be a total nutter but your shared experiences and memories fast track you getting to know each other. You may discover later that that fellow is bonkers and his collection of miniature trams is not as fascinating as you first thought but you still had a head start at a connection.
I think it’s also OK to feel sad just because other people are sad too. We can imagine (although never really understand) what his family and friends must be going through. Being sad also reminds us of other times when we were sad; a new sadness has a way of stirring up an old one in us despite us thinking we were not as sad about that any more.
Cats and Crows have a week off and then life will look next week as if it has returned to normal. And it will for most of us but until then and whenever you want, it’s OK to be sad.
Beautiful image, courtesy of http://favim.com/image/354357/