Pray For Ben Roethlisberger - By Neal Coolong
Steelers Fever Exclusive Editorial
|It's like Varsity Blues.
Down goes two-time All State quarterback Lance Harbor. Writhing in pain, the ominous music is set perfectly with a slow-motion view over a shocked and horrified crowd.
Coach Bud Kilmer is wide-eyed, and can barely breathe. Harbor's cheerleader girlfriend is crying because she lost her meal ticket.
That was me walking into JJs Clubhouse to get a sandwich and watch the U.S. get completely obliterated by the Czech Republic in the World Cup.
I didn't really care about the game before I found out about Ben Roethlisberger's accident. Now I really don't care about anything else.
I saw the report scroll quickly across the ticker on ESPN as I entered the restaurant. A quick call to a friend confirmed Ben hit his head on the windshield of his motorcycle before flipping over the handlebars and smashing into a car.
Any one of us is going to quickly remember all the stories last year about how Ben didn't want to wear a helmet. Coach Cowher told him to wear one. Terry Bradshaw told him to wear one. I even made a joke in a column last year about him wearing one.
Do we really need to point this out? Jay Williams of the Chicago Bulls nearly ended his career after one season when he crashed his bike. He has a chance to play again, but there's obviously no guarantee.
From a team's perspective, it's not as if we have Jonathon Moxon listed as our backup quarterback. Charlie Batch has been serviceable over his career, but he's built for Ben missing two weeks with a strained hamstring, not...I shudder to even think what it could be.
My friend is telling me to be positive, it could be nothing. This is definitely a possibility that he is only a little banged up. Nothing worse than a shot in the chest from LB Donnie Edwards.
That thought comes and goes quickly, though. My head is full of a whole lot of nothing. A selfish flash here and there of his game-sealing touchdown runs against Denver and Seattle. The Lombardi Trophy.
More painful and real thoughts about his family. His future. His football career just doesn't seem so important.
My roommate just got a motorcycle this spring, and I told him he was crazy. He wears a helmet and rides responsibly, but I've never quite seen the point of them. It just seems things like this - helmet or no - happen all too often.
As for the present...maybe Lance Harbor's knee will be fine, unlike the movie. Maybe everything is ok. We will all learn to deal with the "I-Told-You-So" arguments from half the sporting world that are only just starting to filter into our emails and text messages (I've heard from seven people on it already, two of whom I haven't spoken to in a considerable amount of time) from people who disgustingly will take pleasure in his possible injury.
Nothing having anything to do with football really matters right now. So I'm just going to do what Moxon suggests to his brother.
"Pray for the life of Ben Roethlisberger."