It was without a doubt one of the most senselessly tragic moments of 2011: When 39-year-old dad Shannon Stone fell and died at Rangers Ballpark trying to catch a ball for his son thrown by Josh Hamilton, our hearts were broken. Even the thousands of us who didn't know Stone personally couldn't stop asking ourselves, "Why?"
So I'm basically in awe of Stone's family. They're coping with his loss in the most unselfish manner imaginable, honoring the joy Shannon felt in life rather than holding on to the sorrow they felt at his passing.
In a recent interview, Stone's parents revealed the reason why Shannon tried to catch that ball in the first place -- and why they would never want baseball players to stop tossing balls into the stands.
Apparently when Shannon was a kid, his dad Al caught a foul ball from Buddy Bell, a player Shannon idolized in the same way his own son Cooper idolizes Josh Hamilton.
Said Shannon's mom SuZann Stone:
Shortly after the accident, there was some discussion about whether foul balls should be thrown into the stands to the fans. I wrote to Josh Hamilton, and I said: "Please, don't stop throwing those balls. Because that's so important. That's why daddies bring their little boys to the ballgame is for memories like that. Please don't stop."
What an amazing tribute to their son and to everything he held dear during his time on this planet. And what an amazing gift to give to their grandson. Thanks to his grandparents' strength of character and generosity of spirit, he will never feel like his dad was indulging in some kind of risky or foolish behavior when he died. Instead, he'll know that his dad was trying to pass on something special from his own childhood, to keep a family tradition. That his death was tragic, but honorable.
Are you impressed by the way Shannon Stone's parents are dealing with his loss?
Image via Eric Molina/Flickr