Wow. You never know what's really going on in people's lives, especially in the corners in which only they and their loved ones spend their most private time. And when those people are professional athletes, it becomes very easy to ignore their off-field lives while we focus on what we feel they should be doing on the field.
Today's gut-punch example of this phenomenon is Stephen Bowen, the former Dallas Cowboys defensive end who signed with the Washington Redskins in free agency. As Joseph White of The Associated Press reports, Bowen's wife, Tiffany, gave birth to twin sons, Skyler and Stephen III, on June 28. The babies were born four months premature. Skyler died 10 days later. Stephen III is still in the hospital. Stephen II is in Ashburn, Va., while his wife and 21-month-old daughter remain at home in Dallas, watching the baby get better little by little:
"Things are a lot better," Bowen said this week in an interview with The Associated Press following a Redskins practice. "It's still hard. I still think about the son we lost every day. He was just an inspiration for us. While he was here, he was fighting every day to try to be here for us. So the least I can do is just work my butt off and try to be the best football player I can be."
Kind of makes all those worries about adjusting to a new defense and whether the Redskins can win more than six games this season seem a little less significant. We do tend to outsize our concerns about our sports teams and the players who play on them. If remembering this story makes you a little less inclined to yell or curse at Bowen the next time he makes a mistake on the field, I think that would be a fine thing.
Meanwhile, I'm going to go pick my two boys up from camp, and maybe hug them a little extra tight.