It’s time for college football.
Yes, that’s a big part of my Labor Day Weekend fun, ever since my way back days at the University of Maryland.
This year is different for me.
My alma mater is dealing with tragedy.
A young man died this spring after suffering heat stroke during football practice.
The whole university community lost Jordan McNair, and things will not be the same for a long time.
I’ve been grappling with this tragedy since the news broke.
The details, whatever they may truly be, were slow in their release to the public.
Jordan McNair fell during a sprint. He was taken to a hospital, airlifted to another, received a liver transplant.
That’s the bottom line to me.
The rest, story by story, became ugly for the university, coaches, trainers. Fingers were pointing, plenty, and the head trainer stepped down, the head coach was placed on administrative leave with others on the medical staff.
The president slowly stuck with the line that yes, we are responsible, and outside agencies will investigate to get to the bottom of it all, to tell the world just how rotten the program had gotten, as some players stood forward to defend the suspended head coach’s methods and culture of their program and others who know about such things clucked about how barbaric the system seemed to be.
Me? I’m sad. So, so sad. Jordan McNair died. Nothing, ever, will change that.
In my thought process of how far coaches should go to coax maximum effort from the young men that parents leave to them with the thought that they will be treated with respect and a measure of safety, I wondered if maybe this Maryland season should be scrapped altogether.
But, no. That would punish too many who are now rallying to play in the memory of their fallen friend.
I’ll watch the Terps play football this season, yes, and root for the rest of the young men, Jordan McNair’s teammates, my school, coaches and staff going about things in a proper manner, we all hope.
Wow, things are different this season.