Why is It Hard Coming to Grips with a Sportsman’s Death

 Why is It Hard Coming to Grips with a Sportsman’s Death

Hundreds of young men die everyday, some in accidents, some in hospitals fighting a disease and many on borders doing their duty. With every departed soul, a family and a group of friends are left in grief, but when a sportsman dies, an entire community is heartbroken. The untimely demise of Philip Hughes left the entire nation grief stricken. The feeling of shock and despair was universal and heartfelt. But why is it that the death of a sportsman hits us so hard?
The fact is, when we follow a sport, we create heroes out of those who play it. These young men are the real-life superheroes, who are capable of enticing and surprising us with their physical capabilities and achievements. They are capable of turning events on their head, turning defeat into victory. They are our heroes and when heroes fall, our spirits go with them.
Sports played at the highest level always involve a certain amount of risk. When you are facing a hard ball, at the feisty speed of 90 mph or you are racing at the speed of over 200 mph, even a slight misjudgment can lead to disaster. As audience, we are aware of that risk and this is what makes our heart race, this is what separates us from our heroes; they can do something we cannot. At every impossible turn we scream “how could he do that at that speed” or when a steep bouncer is smashed into the stands for a six, we are amazed at the precision and talent. We begin to feel that our heroes are invulnerable and when tragedy strikes, the illusion shatters.
When Ayrton Senna lost his life in a crash in 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, the shock of losing someone so brilliant, doing what he did the best, was what hit his fans the hardest. After sporting tragedies, the frustration of knowing the end of innumerable possibilities hangs back for eternity. Knowledge of the fact that Philip Hughes had a promising career ahead brings-in a lingering disappointment. The fact that with him, ended the possibilities of numerous heroic comebacks and a number of wonderful test centuries, is devastating. It will always be an incomplete story.


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