Condolences to Claudio for the loss of a son

[OBITUARY] Jack Reyna, the oldest son of former U.S. international Claudio Reyna, died Thursday from a brain tumor. He was 13.

Named after Claudio’s grandfather, Jack was born in 1999 while his father played in Scotland for Glasgow Rangers. One of my more vivid memories of Claudio’s career is a rare peek into his family life, when Jack was only a few years old and playing in the lobby of the team hotel – I forget which -- with goalkeeper Kasey Keller.

They were pushing a tiny toy jeep back and forth across a section of the hotel lobby, oblivious to guests chatting on cell phones while they rushed to the elevator and staff members struggling with huge carts. At one point three members of an airline crew walked by, two of them towing wheeled suitcases, and one of Jack’s return “passes” skimmed through the forest of legs and luggage right to Keller.

“He must have it in the genes,” I thought. “Just like his dad.”

Usually far away from reporters and outsiders, the players' families interacted and shared their common experiences in games and tournaments around the world. They spend enough time together to feel like a second family.

Thinking of Jack also made me think of Keller’s children, twins Cameron and Chloe. Since they were born about the same time as my son, whenever we talked I’d bring up the subject of raising kids, hoping to get some insights from a man who raised twins while living in places as diverse as Madrid, Duesseldorf, and London, not to mention Seattle. He always has a good story of inspiration and/or exasperation to share as he tried to express how much fuller is his life as a father.

I can’t think of Clint Dempsey without remembering him talking about his sister, Jennifer, who died suddenly of a brain aneurysm at age 16. Houston coach Dominic Kinnear, who I’ve known for more than two decades, lost a brother and his mother to inoperable brain tumors when they were relatively young.

It’s too easy to forget these figures we see as heroes and villains, winners and losers, are also human beings who suffer through the same personal tragedies and triumphs as the rest of us. That’s why I never downplay or ignore the importance of family, even though many times when a player or coach cites “family reasons” for a decision, there’s a tendency to snicker. A dying parent, or a sick child, can consume even the strongest personality but fans might only see a diminished performance and react accordingly.

While I give my deepest condolences to Claudio, his wife Danielle, and the rest of their family, I hope we can all keep in mind the games we watch are just that, games, and those who regard them as life and death – or even more important, as per the view of former Liverpool manager Bill Shankly – just can't see the bigger picture.

13 comments about "Condolences to Claudio for the loss of a son".
  1. Marc Silverstein, July 20, 2012 at 8:44 a.m.

    Thanks Ridge for that, being on the verge of tears this early in the AM can be good for the soul. It was a very moving tribute.

  2. Rudy Espindola, July 20, 2012 at 8:50 a.m.

    God will give you the strength to go through this Claudio, may he bless you and your family.

  3. Walt Pericciuoli, July 20, 2012 at 9:01 a.m.

    My heartfelt and deepest sympathy to the Reyna family on this very sad day.

  4. Kerry Solomon, July 20, 2012 at 9:14 a.m.

    Very sad to hear the news. God bless the Reyna Family during this difficult time and in the future.

  5. Michelle Salazar, July 20, 2012 at 10:52 a.m.

    So very sorry. My thoughts and prayers are with Claudio and his family...

  6. Kevin Sims, July 20, 2012 at 12:13 p.m.

    Wahoo nation mourns the loss of Jack Reyna. The entire Reyna family and friends are held in prayer.

  7. Maria Ramirez, July 20, 2012 at 1:47 p.m.

    My deepest sympathies to you and your entire family during your time of loss. I cannot begin to know the heartache you feel, but my prayers are with you.

  8. Margaret Manning, July 20, 2012 at 1:48 p.m.

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you Claudio.

  9. Jack Aldridge, July 20, 2012 at 2:50 p.m.

    Respect and condolences from Canada, Reyna family. Our prayers are with you.

  10. Manuel Trejo-von Angst, July 20, 2012 at 5:44 p.m.

    Offering condolences and sympathies just seems to fail to be enough for me to give though they will have to suffice. This is absolutely horrible. I can't imagine anything more ghoulish than losing a child. Losing a loved one is hard enough but losing one who has not even had a real chance to live is simply unimaginable. I hope the Reyna family are able to deal with and move ahead with their lives as much as is possible as soon as possible.

  11. Peter Skouras, July 20, 2012 at 10:01 p.m.

    Our deepest condolences to the Reyna family.

  12. Kenneth Barr, July 21, 2012 at 11:28 p.m.

    It's always a terrible tragedy when a child dies. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Reyna family.

  13. Kenneth Barr, July 21, 2012 at 11:30 p.m.

    Ridge, you hit the nail right on the head. What we see on the pitch is not nearly as important as what we have off of it.

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