One of the most disturbing things I’ve heard so far this football season isn’t something that happened on the field. No, it happened off the field, involving “fans” of the University of Georgia.
After a heartbreaking loss to the University of South Carolina, some fans decided to egg the house of quarterback Aaron Murray. We later found out that Murray had just learned that week his father was diagnosed with cancer. Not only was Murray dealing with this horrible news but was also carrying the weight of the loss on his shoulders. He later tweeted: “Probably the worst 12 hours of my life.”
Here’s some breaking news that most of us often forget: We aren’t the ones out there on the field. We don’t put our blood, sweat and tears into each and every football game like these athletes do. I guarantee that whatever you feel after a loss is nowhere near the heartbreak and agony that they feel after a loss.
Although I was not a competitive athlete in college, I was a collegiate athlete. I was on the dance team at my school freshman year, and it is much tougher than you think to manage balancing school and practice. I didn’t even have to practice nearly as much as most college football players do, but I do know what it’s like to balance worrying about a performance in front of over 85,000 people and a midterm all at once. I can’t even begin to imagine the pressure they face every Saturday.
Make no mistake, I am also a HUGE football fan. I’ve traveled near and far to watch my Gamecocks play. I know what it’s like to have your team get torn to shreds on a national stage. I’ve watched South Carolina get beat up by Auburn in the 2010 SEC Championship, by Florida in the Swamp in 2008 and many other times. They all sting just as badly.
But as much as I care about football and cheering on my team, there’s something more important than any of this.
One columnist wrote it best (regarding the Murray situation):
“Life is more important than football.”
And it is. Life will go on.
Unfortunately, these few bad apples have made a statement that will take a while to erase. This isn’t fair to all of the loyal, respectful, classy Georgia fans that are out there. I know many Georgia fans who are absolutely appalled at the actions of these people. And just because Georgia fans are taking the heat right now, they aren’t the first fan base (or the last) who will do something stupid like this, unfortunately.
Don’t be the person who screws up everything for your school. Be respectful, think before you act and remember that student athletes are people, too. They have feelings and hurt after losses, too. Although they did choose to be in the spotlight, it doesn’t give anyone the right to bully them. Think for a second how it would feel to be in their shoes before you act.
And remember, most of all, “Life is more important than football.”