Footballing fears and frailties pale in comparison to the loss suffered by the Arter family late last year.
On December 12, Harry Arter stepped forward to give his Bournemouth teammates a few words of inspiration ahead of their home game with Manchester United.
Only two days earlier, Arter’s wife Rachel had given birth to the couple’s stillborn daughter.
Somehow, some way, Arter stepped forward and imparted these words:
“Listen, I’ve experienced how short a life can be, what’s happened to my little baby could happen to someone in this team, so make sure you give everything today because these football moments are not going to last forever, and what I’ve learned from this experience is that life can end at any second.”
Bournemouth, as we now know, beat United 2-1. Arter received a huge, appreciative reception from Cherries fans after the final whistle. From that day on, he vowed to dedicate every football game he plays to the daughter he lost.
In a stark, courageous interview in The Guardian, Arter opens up about the heartache both he and his wife are now learning to live with. It has been far from easy but the Irish international keeps stepping forward, one foot after the other.
In the interview, Arter reveals he broke down in the days after the United game and walked out of the team hotel on the night before a match. Seven weeks on from the loss of young Renee and Arter admits to still being raw.
“That was the worst night of my life. To this day I don’t know how Rachel, physically and emotionally, dealt with it. She stayed there the whole night knowing she was still going to have to give birth naturally to our baby that hadn’t made it.
“And for her to do that … it’s the most respect I’ll ever have for anyone. To have to do that, and the way she dealt with it, was unbelievable and made me have an unconditional love for her.”
The full interview, wonderfully handled by Stuart James, is available here and worthy of a read.