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WSU safety Bryce Beekman
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McIntyre: Outpouring of emotion as WSU football faces tragedy again

WSU safety Bryce Beekman died at the age of 22 years old this week. (Getty)

It feels selfish to feel sad right now, knowing how many devastated people there are right now in the Washington State community.

It doesn’t make me any less sad about the passing of Bryce Beekman. But this isn’t about me at all. It’s about the heartbeat of Pullman, the unity of a team, a town, a state – and most of all a family.

Beekman, redshirt senior safety for the WSU Cougars football team, passed away Tuesday night at the age of 22. He’s been described to me by many as a sweet person with special talents.

He transferred from JUCO Western Arizona College and started all 13 games for WSU in 2019. He had 60 tackles and one interception. Everyone expected him to be an integral, if not dominant, part of the Cougars’ secondary in the 2020 season.

I didn’t know him well, just about him as a reporter does when covering a team. I truly wish I did.

His loss is so much more than football and that’s what has me grieving for others right now. There was an outpouring of emotion from his Cougar brethren on social media last night:

There are too many more to list, and I wish I could include them all.

This is a team that dealt with the tragic death of quarterback Tyler Hilinski just over two years ago. As one close to the program put it to me, “Kids shouldn’t have to deal with this once, let alone twice.”

The unity throughout the WSU program was palpable throughout one tragedy and I have no doubt there will be a banding together throughout this as well. New Cougars head coach Nick Rolovich has already focused an effort on keeping the team together during the social distancing period amid the COVID-19 crisis. They’ll need each other more than ever right now.

I’m sad. I’m sad for Beekman’s family the most. I can’t imagine what they’re going through right now and wish with all my heart they are able to come together. I’m sad for his football family, who clearly cherished him.

It’s OK for you to feel sad, too. Unspeakable tragedy, especially during times of uncertainty, hits us all in different ways.

May our hearts remain open to one another, not just now, but always. We all need each other and I hold all who are suffering right now dear in my heart.

Rest in Peace, Bryce.

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jessamyn McIntyre on Twitter.