For so long, Eric Berry has been a rock for the Kansas City Chiefs. He has been a leader, a guiding light in times of darkness, a constant throughout periods of uneasiness. Now, in the most difficult hour of his life, Eric Berry needs all of us.
Berry has a mass in his chest that is being speculated to be lymphoma. The young man is only 25 years old and now faces the fight of a lifetime. None of us know him personally. Sure, a few have gotten his autograph or said hello, but none of us have shared dinner with the man or spoke to him on a deeper level. He is a complete stranger in every sense of the word, and yet he's a cared-for friend in need of a lift.
Sports are not about the wins and losses. They are about the feelings and bonds they create, the moments we can never forget. Fans grow attached to certain players because of their long-standing ties to the organization, for beating the odds of roster churning every year. Berry has been a Chiefs player for five years, but most importantly he has been a source of pride for his conduct and character.
For those who are extremely loyal to a certain team, the men who wear the chosen jersey become our brothers. We pull for them to make the play and implore them to give us everything they have. Now, it is our turn to give Eric everything that we have. We owe it to him to give our best in terms of support and love. It has long been important for Kansas City's fans to be the loudest at Arrowhead, but now it is important to be loudest elsewhere.
This is so much bigger than football. As Chiefs fans, we have followed Berry and therefore have a significantly closer attachment to the man than any other fan base. The others will look from a distance and pray quietly for his speedy recovery. Our group must rise as one and scream loudly from the hilltops, willing our man to victory in a battle of such importance there are no adequate words.
For the football fans in us, Kansas City has a big test this Sunday against the Denver Broncos. It seemed so important a day ago, but now becomes forgotten in the reality in life. Berry faces a monster which so many have to stare down alone, with the lucky ones having a few friends and some family by their side.
In this case, Berry has millions he has never met on their knees beside the bed at night. He will have the support and love of so many, who can't wait to cheer him on once again.
Eric Berry has always been there for us, on and off the field. It's time we return the favor. Send him a card, tweet him, send Facebook messages, and pray if you're so inclined.
We're with you Eric, we aren't going anywhere. And neither are you.