All we are really looking for in this life is a connection.
For all the brash talk sometimes of not needing anyone else, all we really want is some connection to other people, to something bigger than ourselves, to the broad mass of humankind.
It’s kind of the reason we follow sport as passionately as we do. Deep down on some level we know it’s silly, pointless really in the scheme of things.
Yet it’s never really about a game where a bunch of people chase a ball around or arguing about whether one grown man properly disposed of the ball or held a mark long enough. It’s the human element, that connection to other people, often people we have never met.
It’s even people we’ve never heard about but we know are out there. That mass of footy fans out there, all riding the highs and lows, all pouring time into something that only has meaning because we all choose to give it meaning.
There are far better people than me to eulogise Phil Walsh. I imagine what we are all feeling is a very poor facsimile of what the people who actually knew him are currently feeling.
So why do the rest of us react to this like we do? To the passing of someone we didn’t even know? After all, it’s a sad fact of life that wonderful people pass away all the time, often to the ignorance of the majority of us.
I think we react like this because what we feel is the breaking of one of those connections.
Someone who cared about something we did, who shared experiences, probably admired people we did and shared the joy and frustrations of this game is gone.
We also sense something that is at the heart of much of life; that it often makes no sense. Searching for meaning where there is none is part of why we all feel a bit lost this morning.
The only comfort I can find in this is that so many others are feeling what I’m feeling today. We’re all connected because of football and we are lucky to be.
Vale Phil Walsh