I watched as the EMTs carried off one of our soccer players at Bush Park today. John, a sixty-ish fellow, who played with us occasionally, collapsed in the middle of scrimmage and never regained consciousness. We were fortunate to have two doctors playing with us, and they started CPR immediately and directed the paramedics when they arrived. Maybe it was a stroke, maybe a heart attack. We don’t know at this point John’s condition, but I don’t think there was anything that was left undone.

My spiritual journey has had its twists and turns, and I confess that I don’t think intercessory prayer to be, uh, effective, but sometimes that’s all you have. Just as there are no atheists in foxholes, praying fervently for John’s well-being doesn’t hurt any. So I’ve been doing plenty of that.

For me at least, dying on the soccer field would be going out doing something I loved. That, or slumped over a music or computer keyboard, and you’ll know I went out doing what I wanted to do.

But for right now, I’ll stick to hoping that John is OK.

UPDATE: On behalf of the soccer players, I called Salem Hospital this evening and spoke with John’s wife who was in the intensive care waiting room. John is in the ICU in stable condition. They have him on a respirator, and he’s under sedation as they try to give his heart a bit of a rest. They will try to wake him in the next day or two. Although nothing is certain when one is in intensive care, the doctors are optimistic about his long-term prognosis.

UPDATE 2: John is conscious (though he has no memory of his collapse) and headed in for triple or quadruple heart bypass surgery in the next day or two.

UPDATE 3: John had the surgery and should be heading home later this week.