Came home from the pool today and flipped on my Tivo which had kindly recorded the Netherlands v. Russia game from Euro Cup. Thank God. What a game.
So a few seconds in, the play guy points out that the Dutch team is wearing black armbands (they're the ones in Orange)
and it turns out they're doing so because on Wednesday, their teammate Khalid Boulahrouz's baby daughter was born prematurely and died.
He played in today's game.
Now, at first I was floored. No way in hell could I have played soccer (read: gone to my job) days after my daughter's death. But then I thought:
What would your husband's first day of work been like if total strangers had shown up at the hospital to show their support?
If 10 of the guys he works with (plus 8-10 more from the next-door office) wore armbands as a visible sign of mourning? The significance being that they viewed this death as important and sad, your grief as valid and significant, wanted to let you know they were thinking of you, and furthermore were thus willing to do so in public and answer any questions from anyone else who might ask about them?
I'm not real up of the present administrative state of US Hockey and Baseball, but I can tell you there is NO WAY an individual team at the last minute would have been able to make this kind of dramatic statement for their bereaved teammate in the NFL or NBA. The leagues don't allow for marring of the all important Uni (which I'm here to tell you, any one of which probably doesn't sell as well worlwide as, say, van Nistelrooy's) and league-wide symbols and team honorifics demand a ream of advance warning and bureaucracy.
Anyway. I thought it was nice.
And then Russia completely outplayed the Dutch and won, and frankly I was ok with that because dang, did they deserve it.
But Mr. Boulharouz and your wife? I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm so sorry you need to do this in such a public forum. I'm so sorry it happened while you were away from your home, and I'm guessing your doctors. But I'm so thankful that your husband's teammates wore black for the loss of your daughter today, and thus brought international light on what for many of us is a very hidden, lonely, invalidated, unsupported, blown off, and ignored experience. You're in my thoughts.