When the World is Watching

This past Saturday, as the world watched the Euro tournament, tragedy struck. Christian Eriksen suddenly collapsed on the pitch without warning. His teammate and Danish captain, Simon Kjaer, not only thought and acted quickly, he did all of the right things in a terrible situation like that. His heroics have fueled many conversations about everything from first aid training for players to the Milan captaincy. All inspired by a man who was both knowledgeable and prepared to do what needed to be done, even when the world was watching.


Knowing what we do about Kjaer as Milan fans, and also noticing that he has not made any public statements about the incident, he only acted for the well-being of a fellow human being. I also have no doubt he would have acted the same in training or anywhere else, it was not done for fame. He knew what to do when someone collapses, and he was able to execute the appropriate first aid until the medics could reach Eriksen. He was wise enough to organize his teammates to create a human shield for privacy from the cameras and spectators while the medics worked to revive the fallen player. And he was compassionate enough to offer comfort to a distraught loved one when she made it down to the pitch.

Obviously, it is hoped that Eriksen can make a full recovery, and possibly even return to playing football again. While we wait to see, there is worldwide praise and gratitude for the combination of knowledge and leadership that went well above and beyond the captain's armband from Kjaer. Because of his lifesaving skills, in Italy, the FIGC decided right away to offer first aid courses to all Italy and Serie A players. Which is great, but it might be better if they worked to lessen the number of matches the players were required to play, because that could do a lot to help prevent some of these instances. 

A ferocious defender, passionate leader

Then came the calls from Milan fans and pundits for Kjaer to be given the captain's armband at Milan following his incredible leadership in the face of the worst kind of adversity. The Denmark team doctor said that Eriksen "was gone," and that Kjaer saved Eriksen's life. Even Inter fans hung a banner to honor Kjaer as a "great man and captain," acknowledging the Serie A rivalry between the two players. Certainly, Kjaer has shown strong leadership since he returned to Milan, and is older and more experienced than our current senatore. He has also captained Denmark's national team for five years now.

The question remains, however, do such heroics qualify someone for the captain's armband? Traditionally, at Milan, the captain's armband has gone to the player who has been at the club the longest. We all know how it worked out the last time that management awarded the armband to someone who did not match this criteria. But Kjaer is very different, and has demonstrated his leadership skills for both club and country. I also believe that unlike that imposter, he would not accept the armband without consulting his teammates and manager first.

Does the other arm have a captain's armband on it next year?

Particularly if Romagnoli should leave, then the club will have a difficult decision to make. Do they go with tradition, a tradition that Maldini himself experienced, or do they go with popular opinion? It is very difficult to argue the latter point after Kjaer's incredible heroics this past weekend. After all, is the true measure of a man determined by how many caps he has for his team? Or is it determined by incredible acts of skill, leadership, and compassion when the world is watching?

This post inspired by the music of the Foo Fighters' "My Hero"

When the World is Watching When the World is Watching Reviewed by Elaine on 1:10 AM Rating: 5
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