It’s been three days now since former Jersey Flight DB John Williams lost his life in a car accident hours after his team’s home opener last Friday night. Most of us heard the news through Anthony Caruso’s report on The Capital Sports Report just after midnight this morning, and assorted Facebook and Instagram comments primarily from players. Although Flight head coach Jake Grande offered some personal comments on this tragedy in an interview with Caruso, no official statements have been released on either the Jersey Flight’s or American Arena League’s website or Facebook pages.
Incidents like these give us painful perspective. It’s hard not to look at Shawn Brennan’s photo of Williams in action hours before his death and not feel a chill. When a young man loses his life it’s bigger than the game, yet we nevertheless turn to that game for comfort and consolation. It’s what John loved, and it’s what we love. It’s a chain that unites us during the good and the bad.
For me, that chain has a few missing links at the moment. This may not make sense to everyone, but it matters to me how the Flight and the AAL are feeling right now. After all, this is the first time tragedy has gripped either, and it may be the first time many players have experienced the loss of a teammate or competitor. In moments like these, we look to our leaders for comfort, and they have to be there. Yet, even after three days, they are not. I sincerely hope that they soon will be.