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Derek Boogaard Of The New York Rangers Dies At 28

Derek Boogaard, 28-year-old New York Rangers enforcer, was found dead Friday in Minneapolis, the latest athlete to die suddenly and far too young. Blueshirt Banter covered the news Friday night, and their comments section is a good place to go for the tributes and comments that are trickling in across the internet, from hockey fans, players, and writers. 

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I never know how to process an athlete's death, though in St. Louis we've had to do more of it than most. Athletes are selected on the basis of their relative inhumanity—their ability to transcend our own limitations and to do things that allow us, really, to objectify them. Albert Pujols isn't a human being, he's a hitter; Steven Jackson isn't a human being, he's a running back. When players die young they show us just how slight that seemingly unnavigable distance between us and them is; they show us everyone's fundamental mortality. 

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And everyone's humanity. Boogaard—who I hadn't honestly heard of before Friday—was apparently both a fighter, an on-ice villain-for-hire, and an incredibly decent, kind human being. He'll be replaced as a hockey player, but he'll be missed as a person.

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