We all have diversions in our lives. They allow us to step out of reality to escape all the responsibilities and stress off our everyday stress. For some it might be a good book, for others, like my wife, it’s Eagles football or a Hallmark movie. For me, it has always been sports.
There is something about sports that creates this diversion. For just a moment, we are engulfed with our favorite team and players locked in a contest to win a game. A game! A game that means so much to the fans and the players playing it. As fans, we devote ourselves to our teams. We spend our money on things like apparel and decorations just to show where our loyalty lies. We buy tickets and go to games to hoot and holler and escape from our stressful lives for just a moment. But when the reality of sports enters our reality, it hurts.
Back in 2017, when news Roy Halladay’s death hit us, there were many social media posts. Fans were sad as if they lost a member of their family. Others posted asking why would we care so much. The reason is simple, we bring these players into our lives and if they know it or not, they become part of us.
Oskar Lindblom in for a fight
When I found out about Lindblom’s diagnosis, I was doing what we here at PSN normally do. I was busting on one of the fellow writers in our PSN chat. When I heard the news, I thought momentarily that it must be a horrible joke. My reaction was that I have been sick to my stomach since.
Lindblom was the first Flyer I had the privilege to interview. I really wasn’t prepared to interview him as the piece I was going to write was focused on Philippe Myers. I attended my first practice in Voorhees, just prior to the game against the Capitals on November 13th. As I sat waiting for Myers, who was still on the ice, I saw Lindblom as he sat in his locker by himself. I decided to ask him if I could speak to him. He said sure and stood up to speak with me. That little gesture of respect did not go unnoticed.
Here I was, a new sports writer, my first time using credentials to write a story, and now interviewing one of the best Flyer forwards of the season. A young man with so much potential, who was already having a breakout season.
During the interview, he was respectful, kind and humble. He deflected any praise about himself and talked about how good his linemates are. The stories of what a tremendous young man he is had flooded social media. Here is my favorite, from Brooke Destra of NBC Sports Philadelphia:
When our Escape Becomes our Reality
After reading multiple posts on Twitter and Facebook of fans, players and teams supporting Oskar, It got me thinking as to why this is our reaction. Why are we sad that an athlete is sick, hurt or worse? I have a theory on this that definitely applies to me. When news of an athlete or movie star or whoever is diagnosed with such a disease, it forces us to deal with our reality. Maybe you have a family member who has a form of this dreaded disease. In my case, I have suppressed feelings and emotions in having to deal with it. Both my grandfathers died of cancer and I have a family member now fighting the disease. My reaction to Lindblom’s diagnosis probably had more to do with my emotions and my personal situation.
That being said, I am still upset and sad to hear about a wonderful young man in his breakout season having to put his dream on hold to fight for his life. I am praying for Oskar’s return to full health as I am praying for all of those fighting this disease. It’s past time we found a cure and we can say it all together, F-Cancer.
More than a Game
The outpouring of support for Lindblom has been so wonderful. On Twitter, there have been many of those who reached out to stand along with a young man who is in a tough battle. What is has shown is how close the hockey community is. It also is showing that although teams and fans are rivals and may not like each other, when it is more than a game, we all unite.
PSN Supports Ewing’s Sarcoma Research
In an effort to not only show support, but actually support Oskar in his fight, PSN’s own Ricky Amandeo has started a PSN drive to help fund research. Here are the details:
Oskar, you are not alone. We are all with you. To those of you reading this, who have a personal relationship with someone fighting this disease, I am with you. Thoughts and prayers for you and your loved ones. NO ONE FIGHTS ALONE!