Billy Sharp. A name that only the keenest football fans knew. However, the news this week catapulted him into the nation’s eyes, but more importantly, into our hearts.
Sharp experienced what many do go through, but all wish to avoid. He lost his child. Luey was born on the 27th October . He died on the 29th, said Sharp’s team, Doncaster Rovers. He was obviously devastated as any parent would understand, but went on to play 3 days later in his team’s game against Middlesbrough. A minute’s applause was held, instead of the more traditional minute’s silence, to celebrate the boy’s short life.
He went on, after crying at the emotional tribute to his son, to score a goal in the match and touchingly, dedicated it to his son by raising his shirt to reveal a t-shirt saying ‘That’s for you son’.
This story might not have reached such international acclaim if it had been another type of person. Maybe an unknown film actor or radio presenter would have been unintentionally ignored. What people like about this particular story is that it challenges our personal prejudices. It is not particularly expected that a footballer, who many would regard as slightly dumb and incapable of dramatic emotions, would react so strongly. It is also an example of the human ability to persevere in extreme circumstances, even in moments of heart-wrenching grief, when they are driven to do whatever they need to in remembrance for someone they loved and lost.
This is a perpetual story, of people doing wonderful things in the face of overwhelming obstacles. We see it in classical literature, all the way through to the present day. It is the human ability to love someone who may not even be there any more that manages to continually surprise us, even after so long.