Spencer Webb’s Death is a Tragic Reminder to Appreciate Personal Stories of Student Athletes

We need to talk about Spencer Webb.

Oregon Tight End Spencer Webb passed away at the age of 22 yesterday in what is being ruled a diving accident at Triangle Lake outside of Eugene. 

Spencer Webb’s story was one of incredible perseverance, and if you want to know more about the type of young man he was, I recommend you read John Canzano’s latest piece about the adversity he had to overcome to get where he was. 

Like Spencer Webb, I also played Tight End at Oregon. 

Like Spencer Webb, my college years were spent taking advantage of the incredible natural beauty of the Lakes and rivers outside of Eugene. It helped expand my horizons as a young man from Southern California, and helped mold me into the man I am today. 

I’m devastated that we won’t get to see how Spencer Webb’s time in Eugene helped mold him. 

It’s stories like this that serve as a sobering reminder that these college football empires are built on the backs of young men trying to make their way in the world. 

If we hope to save what made college football one of the world’s greatest spectator events, we can’t get lost in the dizzying business aspects of this sport, like coaching carousels, conference carousels, and mountains of television money.

We need to focus on the people. People like Spencer Webb, who rose up from awful circumstances to give himself endless opportunities. 

Take a moment today to reflect on and appreciate the stories of the young men that make up your favorite college team.

We need to focus our energy on giving these young men their flowers while we still have the chance. We need to let their stories impact and inspire us in the moment. 

Let that sink in.