There are no more simple sports stories. We know that now. The boundaries between our games and our lives are all but gone. We learned that last week when the ugly words of an aging talk show host, talking about a group of female college athletes, reverberated through out collective consciousness and struck him down. Now this. Now the tragic deaths of 33 young people at the hands of a troubled young gunman on the campus of Virginia Tech.
Sports fans know VT as the Hokies. They know it as the place that gave us Michael Vick.
When the shots rang out on Monday morning and the newsheads began showing us the pain and tragedy, we saw the rest of Virginia Tech, the tree-lined walkways and gray-stone buildings. Most important we saw the faces. We saw the students and the teachers, the survivors and the dead, all affected, all changed.
Words hurt, but we get over them. One young lady from Rutgers, the team targeted by the former talk-show icon, said the words used to describe her would scar her “for life.” Those among us who barely remember being that young know she’ll get past it and that such a scar would heal sooner than she thinks.
The young men and women of Virgina Tech, their teacher, families and friends are not so lucky.
Our prayers should go out to each of them, and even to the perpetrator (as difficult as that may be), and especially to his family. May God touch them all.
Note: Former Hokies Michael Vick and DeAngelo Hall, both ATL Falcons, expressed their grief over the tragedy, and today Vick’s Foundation announced it was gathering donations from locals communities in ATL and Virginia to aid the families of the victims. Vick contributed $ 10,000 to the fund.