Over the weekend, Michigan football won the Big Ten Championship and a trip to the College Football Playoff as the number two ranked team in the nation. In the NFL, the Lions found an exciting way to find their first win in front of their home fans at Ford Field 364 days since their last victory.
In a weekend of big wins and big plays, Michigan sports fans are reminded that there are bigger things in life than that in the fallout of the tragic Oxford school shooting. However, maybe the Wolverines and the Lions serve as an example that sometimes sports can be something special.
Saturday in Indianapolis, the Wolverines invited Tate Myre’s family on the field for the coin toss. They also wore decals on their jerseys representing the number 42, the jersey Myre wore for Oxford football. The Wolverines beat Iowa 42-3 and the team realized there was something significant about scoring 42-points in the Big Ten Championship while honoring Tate Myre, No. 42.
The idea to honor Tate in the Big Ten Championship was that of senior defensive end and team captain Aidan Hutchinson. After the game, he said that God works in mysterious ways when referring to his team scoring 42 points.
On Sunday in Detroit, the Lions and the Vikings teamed up to honor Oxford by sharing a moment of silence at Ford Field. In addition, they wore tee shirts, jersey decals, and hats with the Oxford logo while fans filled the stands with posters reading “Oxford Strong.”
💙💛 4⃣2⃣ 💙💛#OxfordStrong | @Jae_Uno_ pic.twitter.com/tYxSvzm8e5— Detroit Lions (@Lions) December 5, 2021
The Lions hadn’t won a game in 364 days. They were the only team to be winless for the entire 2021 season. Until Sunday where Jared Goff and Amon-Ra St. Brown connected from 11-yards outside of the endzone as time expired for the game-winning walk-off touchdown. The team, coaches, and fans celebrated as if they had won the Super Bowl.
In the locker room after the game, the team awarded head coach Dan Campbell with the game ball. Minutes later, Campbell met the media at the podium where he announced that he was awarding the game ball to the community of Oxford and all those impacted by the tragic shooting Tuesday.
An emotional Jared Goff talking about the #Lions getting their 1st win on the same day they honored the victims of the #Oxford school shooting.— Jeanna Trotman (@JeannaTrotmanTV) December 6, 2021
"It's a lot bigger than our sport, it's a lot bigger than us. We were able to rise to the occasion & make something special happen." pic.twitter.com/GZToSmW8Vq
“If we can, for three hours, just ease their suffering a little bit, it’s worth it,” said Campbell.
Wins, losses, losing streaks, and championships are nothing in comparison to the feelings the Oxford community is experiencing and the trauma that the Oxford community is sharing. But sometimes, whether its just coincidence or a stroke of fate, sports can serve as a way to honor and a way to mend.
Tate, I sure hope you are feeling the love. 42 points in the Big Ten Championship for No. 42. https://t.co/gLpKOvTnDN— Jeanna Trotman (@JeannaTrotmanTV) December 5, 2021
“You never hope for a tragedy like this, but you hope to be a light for those people,” said Goff. “I think anytime that we can do that it is a lot bigger than our sport and it is a lot bigger than us. I think today was one of those special circumstances that we were able to rise to the occasion and make something special happen.”
Tate Myre and the victims of Oxford will never be replaced, but they can be remembered for all that they were and all that they never go the chance to be.
“When people were running away from that fire he was running into it,” said Jim Harbaugh. “He was a hero. Tate was a warrior.”