It’s easy to demonize the enemy. If they are wearing the opposing uniform, that’s enough.
That goes for both war and sports.
But there’s always a person behind the shirt.
That’s why even Jazz fans can’t be taking pleasure in Gordon Hayward’s gruesome ankle fracture that occurred five minutes into his career with the Boston Celtics.
When teammates are praying on the sideline, you know it’s serious.
As I viewed the replay of the injury — peeking out between my fingers, actually — I had a fleeting thought: It was inevitable.
That’s not necessarily true, but when you consider the tens of thousands of games and practices Hayward has played in his lifetime, injury is never out of the question. It’s part of pro sports, though usually not that drastic.
A 2015 New York Times blog by Jane E. Brody said every day 28,000 people in the United States sprain their ankle and that 45 percent of all athletic injuries are ankle sprains.
Small wonder, then, that sometimes ankle injuries become gruesome fractures.
Advice to the general public is that the best way to avoid ankle injuries is prevention. But with top-shelf athletes, all that has been taken care of. They have all kinds of measures to avoid and treat such things. Monday’s injury to Hayward was a freak occurrence.
Meanwhile, if there is any good in an injury such as Hayward’s, it would be to humanize him. Many Jazz fans have hated on him ever since he left Utah as a free agent on July 4. But seeing him crumple near the rim has to make any true sports fan feel sorry. If not, it’s time to stop watching sports. And you're not a sports fan at all.