Sports will help with na­tion’s re­cov­ery

The Compass - - SPORTS -

As I have said be­fore, sports has the power to do more than en­ter­tain us. It has the power to pull us out of what­ever bad place we find our­selves in and set things right for those two hours a night when we watch.

Wher­ever we find our­selves, be it a breakup or a hor­ri­ble day at work, for what­ever rea­son just watch­ing our favourite teams can re­store bal­ance to the world.

Night after night, sports does that for mil­lions of peo­ple in ev­ery cor­ner of the world.

What makes it bet­ter is when sports show support for us. It can help make sense of things in the dark­ness.

On Oct. 22, a lone gun­man shot and killed 24-year-old Cpl. Nathan Cir­illo, a Hamil­ton re­servist with the Ar­gyll and Suther­land High­landers of Canada reg­i­ment. Cir­illo was stand­ing guard at the Na­tional War Memo­rial in Ot­tawa when he was trag­i­cally killed. The gun­man later en­tered Cen­tre Block of the Par­lia­ment Build­ing, where he was shot dead by sergeant-at-arms Kevin Vick­ers.

The in­ci­dent shook the na­tion, as much of the down­town core of Ot­tawa was on lock­down for more than eight hours.

The Ot­tawa Se­na­tors and Toronto Maple Leafs were set to meet later that night, but the game was post­poned be­cause of the in­ci­dent. How does the power of sport tie into this? Mo­ments after news of the shoot­ing broke, the Pitts­burgh Pen­guins tweeted they would play both na­tional an­thems — “O Canada” and “The Star-Span­gled Banner” – be­fore the Pen­guins’ matchup with the ri­val Philadel­phia Fly­ers. There was also a mo­ment of si­lence ob­served in Ed­mon­ton and Ana­heim.

It was a stir­ring ges­ture from a team that has Cana­dian play­ers, but is not Cana­dian. It was eerily sim­i­lar to acts of support shown at ball­parks around the na­tion, in­clud­ing Toronto, in the wake of 9-11.

Pic­tures from Pitts­burgh show a red glow cas­cad­ing over the ice with maple leaves at op­po­site ends of the rink.

It was just another ex­am­ple of how sport does more than of­fer a lit­tle en­ter­tain­ment on a Satur­day or Sun­day af­ter­noon. They have the power to heal.

I’m not say­ing the singing of one na­tional an­them in one sta­dium in Amer­ica will make ev­ery­thing go away. Of course it won’t.

But, it will help re­in­force our stance as a united coun­try.

Imag­ine the scene at TD Place when the Maple Leafs and Se­na­tors re­play its game on Nov. 9, with the Cana­dian flag fly­ing high and re­tired On­tario Provin­cial Po­lice mem­ber Lyn­don Slewidge belt­ing out the an­them.

I would imag­ine you’d be hard pressed to find a dry eye in the house when it hap­pens. We will per­se­vere and we will be stronger. Sports will play a lit­tle part in that. Ni­cholas Mercer is a re­porter/pho­tog­ra­pher with The Com­pass. He lives in Bay Roberts and can be

reached at nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

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