As I wake up, having tried to sleep on the images I saw yesterday, I still feel heavy-headed and numb. I don’t feel very articulate in being able to put across my feelings and thoughts on the whole thing. Yet, I pen these words for I needed collecting myself and put in written the monologue residing in my head.
I was watching the match live when the lights went out in Christian Eriksen’s eyes as he fell to the ground, motionless. It’s one of those images you cannot get out of your head; not immediately, anyway. I should probably have shut my laptop down in that very moment, but I continued to watch the whole thing unfold, much like a pervert feasting upon something he should never have been privy to. As the ensuing images worsened, so did the stiffness in my entire body. I sat there ashen faced, with head heavy with horror and shock with tears ready to burst out of my eyes as I continued looking upon the Denmark players forming a shield around their stricken comrade to provide him the privacy he needed, themselves unable to contain the emotions that were preparing increasingly towards the eventuality that this was not going to end well. You could see it in their eyes as they tried to muster a look and quickly turn away, unable to watch for more than a second. You could watch from under their legs as an unconscious young man was being given CPR by hasty medical professionals. You could look it in the spectators on that end of the pitch as they hid their faces behind their hands and others’ shoulders. And yet, thanks to the swift decision-making from everyone involved and much to the jubilation of the everyone across the globe who held their breath for a positive development, Eriksen would go on to regain consciousness and taken out of the stadium that echoed with fans of both contingents complementing each other in chanting his name, as they would continue to do so long after the 29-year-old was taken to the hospital and stabilised.
These are not the images we should have been allowed to witness. The abruptness of an event that occurred with no forewarning was not the fault of the people that filmed the whole thing, but letting the feed roll long after it was established that this was too serious an event, persisting with zooming the cameras into the faces of horrified, inconsolable people – players, staff, fans, HIS OWN WIFE, is something you cannot come back from. Protocols or not, there are lines that must never be crossed, and it’s nigh impossible for anyone to come back from having enabled something like this.
I did not turn my screen back on when the match resumed. It was a matter of choice for everyone involved, so you cannot blame the Danes for wanting to continue playing after talking to their compatriot, filled with adrenaline and jubilation, to return to the stage and let the show go on. In the end, though, the match did not matter in comparison, neither did the gravity of the result as Finland recorded a historic win in their first-ever match of a major tournament; neither will, at the end of the day, the entire tournament.
This past year, football has thrown at us multiple instances to remind us how preposterous we are in taking seriously something that is otherwise so infinitesimal. It is, at the end of the day, a celebration of life, and I hope yesterday’s events helped you as much as they did me in reminding us of the things that actually matter in the end. I hope it served as a genial reminder for thinking of and checking up on your loved ones, letting them know – in your own way – that there’s little else of import beside them.
I don’t know what purpose this little address is supposed to have. Probably nothing, I imagine. But as I feel reduced to nothing but a human, I hope in this naked vulnerability we find our focus back at the things – the people – that matter more than anything else. Come tomorrow, we will dive into this circus all over again, becoming parolists to this little corner of the world we share beyond boundaries both real and abstract. Till then, I hope you all solace in the company of your loved ones.