Randy Hollis: Fan's death at Rangers game a cautionary tale

Published: Saturday, July 9 2011 7:00 p.m. MDT

"You worry about him getting hurt fighting a fire, and I always worry about that with my guys," Del Albright, chief of the Brownwood Fire Department where Stone had served for 18 years, said in an ESPN.com story by Richard Durrett. "But this is something you don't expect.

"He was so dedicated to his son and family and a dedicated firefighter. Whenever he was off duty, he was with his son. We had officer meetings and I would ask him to come in on his day off to attend those, and nine out of 10 times he had his son with him. He was dependable. I left him in charge of many fires I went to because I knew he could handle it."

Unfortunately, this certainly isn't the first time — nor will it be the last time — that a fan dies at a sporting event.

Every year, it seems, one or two fans are killed at a baseball, football, basketball or soccer game after falling from an upper deck, a concourse, over a railing or from a staircase at a stadium.

Sometimes, fans are just drunk, stupid or careless and do idiotic things to try and impress their friends. At other times, over-zealous fans will risk life and limb for an opportunity to bring home a ball, a jersey, a wrist band, an autograph or some other silly souvenir from a ballgame.

Mr. Stone was neither of these. He was a loving, responsible father who was simply trying to enhance his young boy's experience at the ballpark.

But in his effort to make it a more memorable time for the two of them, it instead became a horrible nightmare which his son will likely remember and relive for the rest of his life.

Fathers and their children should do all they can to build those lasting memories. But this tragedy serves as cautionary tale for us all to always try and be careful, be responsible and, above all else, be safe.

email: rhollis@desnews.com

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