Grieving for A.J. DeLaGarza as a Member of the MLS Family

As I drove home from my office in downtown Salt Lake City tonight, I was thinking about A.J. DeLaGarza.  My heart hurt for him.  A.J.’s son Luca passed away on Thursday due to complications related to hypoplastic left heart syndrome, just a week after Luca’s birth.

I guess my thoughts were with A.J. in part because I’m a new father myself.  I can’t imagine losing my 7-week-old son.  The pain of such a loss would doubtless leave a hole that would be impossible to fill.  Yet, we as soccer fans are trying our best to fill that hole in the hearts of A.J. and his family by grieving with them and providing what meager support we can.

In that sense, we soccer fans are an interesting bunch.  Paradoxical even.  As an RSL fan, I have constantly rooted against the LA Galaxy, including A.J. DeLaGarza.  They’re the enemy, rivals, deserving objects of scorn.

But such a one-dimensional point of view rightly takes a back seat when the world of sports intersects with real life.  On most nights, A.J. DeLaGarza is DeLaGarza the foe.  But tonight, he’s A.J. the father and A.J. the fellow competitor.  A.J., a brother in the family that soccer has made of us all.  He’s hurting, and we’re doing what we can to be there for him.  Look no further than Twitter to see how all of MLS, from fans to players to clubs, have reached out to A.J.  These are just a small sample:

Heath Waddingham

About Heath Waddingham

SLC-raised and BYU-educated. RSLTID.