I've been away for a few weeks now for various reasons. Suffice it to say it has not been a great few weeks for me.
While I fully intend to continue writing for Bleacher Report, it has been the devastation of the last few weeks that means I shall not be writing again for a few more.
It's strange how life puts things into perspective: a recent death of a close friend (my equine partner actually), and a career ending injury for another close friend. It has certainly made me want to stay away from sport for a while.
Certainly, in the two weeks I've been away, the football landscape has changed somewhat.
For instance, I was forced to accept that I will be watching more championship football next season. My team, Charlton, lost a crushing match to championship compatriots Queen's Park Rangers.
It's devastating, but that's the way it goes. I won't be seeing the beautiful scenes at Wembley that we did in 1997/98 (see the above photograph), and I won't be seeing Arsenal at the Valley next season, either.
On the other hand, we saw some heartbreaking moments this week in the Champions League with John Arne Riise's own goal and Ronaldo's stunning miss.
Watford has confirmed that they are being taken over. In the event that Cardiff wins the FA Cup, they have been allowed to represent England in the UEFA Cup.
However, none of this has actually made me pick up my laptop and start writing. I have two other articles on the back burner currently because I have not had the heart to post them just yet.
One is particularly controversial (entitled "Loan Signings: Waste of Time?"). The other, heartfelt, is ("Great Footballers Four: The Legend of Ryan Giggs"). I have not felt strong enough to deal with answering comments this week.
So why am I writing now? Boredom? Actually, what prompted me to write an article today is something much closer to my heart.
Frank Lampard will miss tomorrow's clash against Manchester United, following the death of his mother from pneumonia.
I've never been Frank's greatest fan, but even I must bow here and show my respect for a footballer who does value the things—and people—that matter in life.
Sometimes there really are things more important than football, than any sport. It is how we deal with life—and how much time we devote to the people who matter—that define the kind of person we are.
As a mark of respect, both teams will be wearing black armbands on Saturday, and I can think of no greater tribute or show of support for one of England's own, than that.
Frank Lampard has shown us something very special this week. Behind the media frenzy, behind the money, and behind the football is someone mortal, human, and humble.
Here's to Frank Lampard: we're all behind you. Take care and rest for now. The football world will still be here for you when you are ready to return.
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