Sports are an important thing. All across the world, people are brought together in huge colorful crowds, viewers tune into their TVs, computers, phones, and children gather at courts and fields and try to imitate their favorite athletes, sometimes donning their jerseys.
Sometimes, however, sports must take a back seat to bigger issues.
This is one of those moments.
Oregon tight end Spencer Webb, who would have been entering his Junior season for the Ducks this fall, passed away after a fall and head injury at Triangle Lake one week ago.
Webb was found unresponsive about 100 feet down a steep trail, all indications are that the fall was an accident. He was 22.
For a life to end at any stage is always difficult, in this case it’s rather hard to grasp. Webb was a talented multi-sport athlete who was actually invited by Basketball head coach Dana Altman to try out for the team during his freshman year at UO. He was working toward his college degree and was a projected starter for the 2022 football season.
Webb hailed from Sacramento California, where he was raised primarily by his aunt, uncle, and older brother Cody, who became Spencer’s legal guardian while he was still underage.
He utilized a redshirt during the 2018 season, appearing in the final couple games of the year, and played his first full season with the historic 2019 squad, showing his skills by catching a jump-ball touchdown in the end zone in the season-opener against Auburn. He was instrumental in UO’s scheme filling in for the injured Jacob Breeland.
He finished the season with 18 receptions for 209 yards and three touchdowns and a Rose Bowl championship to his name.
After only seeing action in one game during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Webb played in all 14 games of the 2021 season, finishing with 13 receptions for 87 yards and a touchdown.
A celebration of Webb’s life will be held at Autzen Stadium tomorrow evening, and the impact of this loss will weigh heavily on his coaches and teammates, but none more so than his family and closest friends.
So each time Oregon kicks off for a game in 2022, each time the fog horn sounds for a score, each time everyone dances in unison to Shout, let’s take a moment to remember that Spencer could have been a part of it, and how delicate any life can be.
Appreciate life every day. Here’s to you, Spencer.