The Virginia Tech Tragedy and Why Sports Matter
When I hear the words "Virginia Tech," sports immediately come to mind. I think of Michael Vick nearly leading the Hokies to the national championship and Marcus Vick falling far short of the expectations that came with his famous name. I think of the breakout season for Seth Greenberg's basketball team and the way they knocked my Illini out of the Big Dance this year.
I think of things that don't really matter, not compared to the tragic loss of life that happened on the Virginia Tech campus yesterday.
And then I see what other sports fans have to say about yesterday's events, and I'm reminded that sports do matter. They give us a sense of community with our fellow sports fans. None of us can imagine what my colleague Nick Dallamora, who's a student at Virginia Tech, went through yesterday. But I've been struck by how many sports bloggers have shown that sense of a community of fans today.
Dan Shanoff began today's column with the headline, "Today We Are All Hokie Fans." Every Day Should Be Saturday had a poignant post simply titled, "Moment of Silence," with a Hokie flag at half staff. We Are The Postmen reflected what I think a lot of people were thinking, which is that we want to say something but don't know what. With Leather noted the difficulty of being funny and The Big Picture said "no jokes today." Larry Brown Sports and Chris' Sports Blog and My Sports Talk all set sports aside.
That's the immediate reaction, but in five months we'll be watching the Hokies on the football field again. When we do, we'll no doubt see black stickers on the players' helmets, and our first response might be to think a football game doesn't mean a damn thing. But then we'll get a look at the student section, and the young people that game is bringing together, and we'll be reminded that sports matter.