Dad Days of Summer: While Momania’s Theresa Walsh Giarrusso takes a vacation, local dad and sportswriter Andy Johnston will be filling in. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m usually not affected by sad stories.
I’ve heard tons of heart-wrenching ones in my 23 years in journalism, a profession that has turned me into a hardened cynic.
But I was deeply moved by the Texas Rangers fan who fell to his death last Thursday night after trying to catch a ball tossed into the stands by outfielder Josh Hamilton.
You’ve probably read the story – or even seen the YouTube video – of Shannon Stone, a firefighter from Brownwood, Texas, falling over the first railing at Rangers Ballpark. At his side was his 6-year-old son, Cooper, who could only watch as his father fell 20 feet onto a concrete slab.
They were at the game together, father and son, enjoying a sport that has been a common link to so many fathers and their sons through the generations.
And to tell you the truth, that’s probably what has affected me the most about this story. From everything I’ve read, Stone and his son were inseparable, and baseball was something they both loved.
They even stopped to buy a glove on the way to the game.
“He was an outstanding dad,” Brownwood City Manager Bobby Rountree told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “He brought Cooper into my office, and it was clear they idolized each other. That’s why this is so tragic. That young boy was there for a night of fun, a night of baseball.”
Witnesses say Stone was conscious after he fell. His first words were about his son. He wanted to make sure somebody would look after Cooper, who was surrounded by people he didn’t know. The boy then had to ride in the front seat of the ambulance that took his father to the hospital.
Shannon Stone’s funeral is today.
Coming Tuesday: Georgia football coach Mark Richt talks about family, faith and adoption and other issues in Part 1 of a Q&A that I had with him last week.
- By Andy Johnston, for the Momania blog