Why couldn't we all be quiet while we waited for Damar Hamlin news?

Damar Hamlin was involved in a hit, got up, stumbled a little and fell down.

It set off a terrible evening of uncertainty about his condition early in Monday night's Bills-Bengals game after medical people performed CPR on him and took him to the hospital by ambulance.

Many said they’d not seen anything like it.

But I recalled Denmark’s Christian Eriksen during soccer’s European Championships on June 12, 2021, when he had a heart attack on the field but was saved by sideline CPR and Hank Gathers, who had a cardiac episode on the basketball court during the semifinals of the 1990 WCC basketball tournament and died.

ESPN had to talk through it, they were on the air. Joe Buck and Troy Aikman did well – keeping their comments to a minimum, throwing it to repeated commercials. Lisa Salters added information. Suzy Kolber, Booger McFarland and Adam Schefter did what they had to do, filling space and time with sympathy, concern and questions.

But what about the rest of us?

I know Twitter is not real life. But was every sportswriter in America obligated to offer comment last night? Why?

Why not be silent?

We are now trained, it seems, to say something about everything even if we add nothing.

What’s the value in sharing that you’ve never seen anything like it before while everyone else says the same? And didn’t you say the same when you flipped over the Erikson during Euros just 19 months ago? We all prayed, but your announcements that you were praying make your prayers seem less significant to me, sorry, because yours were interrupted by your determination to tweet about them.

I’m a loud guy with a lot to say.

But there are times to be quiet and last night seemed to be one of them.

I looked to Twitter to see if Bengals or Bills reporters had any news and was shocked by how cluttered my timeline was at a time it should have been relatively empty, left for people who had actual news, pictures, color or insight from the scene.

Or maybe a distraction, I don’t know.

As I’ve gotten older, believe it or not, I’ve gotten a little better at not judging everything and at not sharing everything I do judge.

But last night as my wife and I watched anxiously after Hamlin fell to the turf, hoping the worst-case scenario wouldn’t come true, we asked each other some questions and were somber – and mostly quiet.

apple icon 144x144 precomposedI imagine most people were, but perhaps I was way off.

What I don’t understand is why so many felt compelled to inject themselves into it even in some small way, with a tweet telling everyone -- jumping up and down and waving their arms: I saw it too, I’m upset too, I’m praying too, I think it was horrific too.

The social media reaction is what passes for community in a lot of ways now: Repeat and echo and unify on some basic human feelings no one could possibly disagree with at the moment.

There is no right way to deal with it, I suppose.

But being quiet and contemplative doesn’t seem like the wrong way.

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