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Giving thanks to a sports community that’s there in the worst of times

Giving due to a sports activities group that is there within the worst of instances

Ah, Thanksgiving. The soccer is nice. The meals is overrated. And it doesn’t matter what they taught me in grade college, Pilgrims and Native People didn’t commemorate the vacation by communing at an outside desk in late November, sharing meals in mutual admiration.

However the gratitude is actual.

I do know as a result of I really feel it yearly. And since, simply the opposite night time, I ran throughout a social media publish from Kristen Glasser, the widow of slain police officer, David Glasser. It stuffed my coronary heart with love and inspiration.

“Happy Birthday in heaven, Dave! We celebrated you with friends and family today. Even did a shot of Fireball for you. Miss you so much! Love you forever!”

Glasser’s loss of life in 2016 rocked our group. He was responding to a home incident in the course of a weekday afternoon and bought ambushed by a suspect who was armed and ready inside a parked automobile. Glasser was 35 on the time, abandoning a loving spouse and two kids.

“There’s a misconception out there that it gets easier,” Glasser mentioned. “It doesn’t. You just to learn to live with the grief, absorb the grief, allow it to become part of your life. You learn to incorporate it.”

Glasser was an enormous sports activities fan. He cherished the Cardinals. He cherished listening to sports activities speak radio. He was a giant man, charismatic and funky, the form of fan different followers rally round. His loss of life rattled us all.

However her current publish carried a distinct vibe. It included photos from a cemetery, the place Glasser’s household and pals gathered for his or her annual balloon launch on David’s birthday, the cathartic act of scribbling loving messages on balloons and sending them to the heavens. And, sure, there have been Fireball pictures.

“It’s weird,” she mentioned. “Sure years, it’s nonetheless onerous and I’ll be in tears after we launch these balloons. This yr it was extra of a joyful factor.

“You take it one day at a time. You persevere. Slowly, a light starts to shine, and you laugh again. We’re in a really good place now. It’s nice. I’m happy. And my kids are doing really well.”

After Glasser’s loss of life, the Cardinals rallied sturdy across the trigger and the Glasser household, honoring the fallen officer. My band staged a profit live performance, dedicating the Foo Fighters’ “My Hero” to her late husband. I recall Kristen leaving through the center of that efficiency. Possibly we had been out of tune. Or possibly the emotion and the sense of loss had been simply an excessive amount of.

Both means, my coronary heart ached for her and her household.

It’s taken six years for the sunshine to return. That’s why her publish was so highly effective. It’s a testomony to the energy of household, the facility of everlasting love and the resiliency of the human spirit. It’s a credit score to the group that stood beside Kristen in her time of want. It’s proof that we will raise one another up, assist one another to a greater place.

“We are blessed with the amount of support we’ve gotten,” she mentioned. “Because it was so public and it involved the police department, the community was there for us. It was overwhelming in a good way. I think about other widows who have lost their husbands in different ways. And if they don’t have that support, it just breaks my heart.”


If the timeline is six years, then Casey Langen has an extended option to go. Her journey has simply begun.

Her husband, Mike, was additionally a diehard sports activities fan, omnipresent on Twitter. He cherished the Payments as a result of his mom hailed from New York. He cherished the Dodgers as a result of his dad got here from california.

“He held onto them for dear life,” Casey mentioned.

Mike Langen additionally cherished sports activities speak radio. He often thanked his favourite personalities for serving to him via a very robust week, and there have been numerous these. He even referred to as me his “hero” within the ultimate message I obtained from him, however I knew higher. He was sending the identical message to all of the hosts at Arizona Sports activities.

He was a form soul who did as a lot for us as we did for him. He additionally struggled with psychological health points, affected by excessive social nervousness and melancholy. He endured a sequence of bodily setbacks earlier within the yr, catching COVID-19, breaking his foot and later breaking his wrist. Unbeknownst to his spouse, he started to self-medicate with medicine and alcohol, coping in ways in which in the end led to his demise.

Mike texted Casey at 7:40 p.m. on the night time of Oct. 20, saying he cherished her and that he could be residence in an hour. By 9:10, Mike hadn’t returned, and Casey knew one thing was terribly incorrect.

He by no means made it residence, abandoning a widow and 4 kids: Riley 16, Brady 12, Colby 10 and Eleanor 8.

Similar to Glasser, his loss of life rattled these within the tight-knit world of Valley sports activities followers.

“It’s been a rollercoaster,” she mentioned. “The youngsters are doing significantly better. It’s gotten to the purpose the place there may be much less crying and fewer issues that set off the feelings. However it’s so bizarre. And it’s so new. I’m going outdoors and see my husband’s truck and it makes my coronary heart drop. I’ve to cease myself from texting him about 100 instances on daily basis.

“The kids and I are just figuring this thing out together. My 16-year-old has been amazing. He’s making sure the doors are locked at night, making sure all the little things get done. He is so on top of things. And the other night, my daughter and I went out, ate cheeseburgers and listened to Michael’s favorite band. We just sang and cried.”

After Mike’s loss of life, Casey was shocked to search out he had over 5,000 followers on Twitter. A GoFundMe account in his title has raised over $15,000, which has been a godsend for Casey and her kids. You will discover the hyperlink right here.

This Thanksgiving, I’m grateful for the love, empathy and powerful sense of group inside this transient, loopy, divisive sports activities city. I hope Casey Langen finds the identical energy that helped raise Kristen Glasser throughout her journey again to the fringes of normalcy. And that six years from now, she can be sending balloons to heaven with a wistful smile, elevating a toast in her husband’s honor.


Attain Bickley at [email protected] Take heed to Bickley & Marotta weekdays from 6 a.m. – 10 a.m. on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports activities Station.

Editorial staff
Editorial staff
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