If you know football, when you hear the name Adrian Peterson, you likely think strength, speed, grace and brilliance. Until now, it’s highly unlikely that you ever thought of tragedy.
Peterson’s 2-year-old son died, after being savagely beaten, allegedly by the child’s mother’s boyfriend.
Football will go on today. Early reports after the tragedy were that Peterson would not miss his next game. Minnesota Vikings fans will certainly observe a moment or two of silence for Peterson and his son, before they cheer wildly for their hero and their team.
When tragic events hit the sports world, broadcasters often say, “This certainly puts sports into perspective.” Apparently, they mean to suggest that it’s only a game.
Until now, I never truly considered that statement, presumably, because I’ve never felt so much anguish over a single event involving an athlete.
As an avid fantasy football player, though, Adrian Peterson has helped me succeed in my league. If you understand fantasy sports, you know that there is a certain bond between the fantasy team owner and the players he or she “owns.”
Perhaps it sounds silly, but fantasy football has made me love Adrian Peterson. I admire his brilliance as one of the best running backs I’ve ever seen. When I rooted for him weekly, though, as part of my own team, admiration turned to a unique kinship.
I’m am sadder for Peterson than I ever have been for another athlete. Today’s football games will seem insignificant. My own fantasy football game feels less important than at any time in the 24 years that I have played.
Peterson is not on my fantasy football roster this year. No matter, because I am a father, so I empathize. As strange as it may sound, at this moment, I love Adrian Peterson like a brother.
So, today, I will not cheer for football players or a fantasy team.
Today, I will weep.
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