April 18, 2007

We Are All Hokies

We have yet to chime in on Monday's tragedy at Virginia Tech, but it is simply too big a human event not to start a conversation about. That's what blogs are for, after all.

As information has become available and the sequence of events has become more clear, what we all knew from the beginning has been confirmed: that no matter how much we learn about this awful situation, it will never, ever make any sense at all. Now, for those of us not directly connected to Virgina Tech, all that's left is to commemorate, mourn, and do whatever we can to help the people with ties to Blacksburg move on as best they can.

There have been many wonderful examples of this desire to show solidarity with their heartbroken campus around the country. Almost every major university in America, including UT, is holding or has held a vigil in Va. Tech's honor. The Washington Nationals wore VT caps in their ballgame yesterday. Some Penn State students are planning to wear maroon and orange instead of blue and white to their spring football game this Saturday, and the traditional "S" section at Beaver Stadium will instead spell out "VT."

Sports, like most other things in life, are put squarely into perspective when a tragedy like this occurs. But they do not become meaningless. In fact, as we've heard many times before, sports can often act as a catalyst to healing and mass shows of support in times of grief. It makes perfect sense; built-in media coverage and thousands of people gathered in one place is a natural time for big displays of unity. And, much as New Orleans Saints and LSU football continue to be rallying points for the people of New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast in Katrina's wake, Hokie football in 2007 will be a welcome community event for the Virginia Tech family. It will be one of many factors in helping that community gather the strength to return to normalcy.

When the Hokies meet those LSU Tigers in Baton Rouge on September 8, it will be a contest between two schools and football programs that have learned the hard way that a sporting loss is not a tragedy--but also that sport can help you live on after one. While a tragedy of this magnitude may make a football game seem less important, reality is that for the students, faculty and anyone associated with Virginia Tech, the first game of the season may be the most important football game of their lives. September 1st is Virginia Tech against East Carolina in Blacksburg. We say go Hokies.

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