I have often said that talking sports is the great equalizer. In any situation, any stranger becomes a friend when you talk about sports.
I grew up with my grandparents and as I entered my late teens, I felt a serious generation gap forming between my grandfather and me. We often felt like aside from heritage we had nothing in common.
He was a member of the Greatest Generation. I was a member of Generation X. He got his haircut by the same barber for 30 years. I had blue hair. Yet despite all of our differences, we could always talk on Sundays.
There was always football talk to bridge the gap. There was always baseball talk to break the ice. Now there’s football talk to bring him back.
I will never forget the look on his smiling face when the Broncos finally won their first Super Bowl. I will never forget the times when he would shout “damn it, Elway,” and throw his faded Broncos baseball cap to the ground from his easy chair when John would throw a bad pass, and believe me I heard it a lot.
We threw catch in the backyard so many times we could almost do it with our eyes closed. He has been gone for almost 10 tears now and I only need to get a whiff of glove leather or pine tar and I am back to those summer evenings, with the buzzing of cicadas and the repeated thump of ball to glove.
He died during the spring and I remember wishing there was a good football game to watch, so I could lose myself. I wished I could take in a baseball game where nothing else mattered but the crack of the bat and the thump of ball to glove.
It’s time to let the healing begin again, this time as a country.
I was working in the sports department of my hometown newspaper when we were struck with the horror of the Columbine shooting. All of that day’s events were cancelled out of respect for those fallen and I remember how hollow that night felt. Everyone in the newsroom was hurting and needed the normalcy that sports brought to our lives to help us get on – to heal.
It has been a week and students returned to classes in
When school resumes next fall and the Virginia Tech football team takes the field, they will be special. They may not win a national championship but they will have performed a greater service, they will have helped make a university, a community and a country feel whole again.
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