#2: NATIONAL SUPPORT FOLLOWING BEN FLICK TRAGEDY
For much of the last football season the Cincinnati Bearcats, the team, the staff, and the fans, were burdened by heavy hearts. The reason was the loss of freshman offensive lineman Ben Flick. His life was tragically taken from us just hours after Cincinnati’s win over Miami University in mid-September. Flick was involved a brutal car accident along with fellow UC players Mark Barr and Javon Harrison as well as a Miami University student who was driving the vehicle. While Barr and Harrison survived the crash, despite being confined to a hospital, Flick did not.
The mourning of the offensive lineman spread throughout the university and hung over the program for the entire season. UC honored Flick with helmet stickers the following week against South Florida. They followed that up with a moment of silence before kickoff as well as a tribute video prior to Cincinnati’s first home game since the tragedy against the Temple Owls.
But it didn’t stop at the borders of Clifton. The outpouring of support for UC football following the tragedy spread from coast to coast.
First it was Western Michigan who, despite no scheduled game against UC that season or true connect to Ben Flick, donned “#77″ helmet stickers the Saturday following the accident against Kent State. Then there was UCLA sending a card signed by the entire football team pledging their support. The Bruins had of course just experienced the loss of wide receiver Nick Pasquale after he was hit by a car on September 8th. So they could definitely relate to what UC was going through. And finally UConn wore “#77″ stickers on their helmets during their game against the Bearcats on October 19th. Then interim head coach TJ Weist of course recruited Flick when he was the wide receivers coach at Cincinnati.
This tragedy transcended conferences and rivalries. All teams can empathize with losing one of their own. Players, especially college athletes, spend as much time with their teammates and coaches as their own families. Sometimes even more so. In many ways football teams are families and as such losing a teammate is like losing a brother. That’s just how close these players and coaches get to each other.
So to witness the kind of support from Western Michigan, UCLA, and UConn among others was heart warming. Nothing can truly make up for the loss of a young man like Ben Flick but knowing that those programs empathized with Cincinnati’s tragedy took away some of the pain.