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Remembering it’s Just a Game

November 25, 2015

It’s Ohio State week.  Which means the Michigan Football world should be focused on how we matchup with Ohio State, Jim vs. Urban Part I, and the possibility of (however slim) of a Big Ten Title.  But this week the Michigan football family collectively paused to mourn the passing of Chad Carr, grandson of former Coach Lloyd Carr and player Tom Curtis, and son of former quarterback Jason Carr.

By now most have heard how Chad was diagnosed with DIPG, an almost incurable brain cancer, over a year ago.  I don’t know the Carr family personally, but I’ve followed Chad’s story .  I’m sure that part of it is due to the fact that it impacts members of the Michigan football family.  Maybe its because we’ve recently moved back to the Ann Arbor community and so this feels closer to home.     But most of all its probably because Chad is just a little bit older than my son and I can’t fathom what I would do under similar circumstances.

What I do know is that I am amazed at the grace with which Jason and Tammi Carr have handled themselves during this trying time.  They have had the strength and courage to not only share their story publicly through social media, but form a foundation that has raised over half a million dollars, all the while knowing that any cure found for DIPG would likely come too late for Chad.

I know that I’m proud of not only of the way the Michigan football community has rallied around the Carr family over the last year, but the way in which countless others in sports including the Detroit Tigers, ESPN and even Ohio State and Michigan State, have come together to support the Carr family and the Chad Tough Foundation.  For every Greg Hardy situation in sports, there are dozens of stories like these – people coming together to make things a little better for someone who needs it, even for just a little while.  That’s part of why I love sports.

I know I’m ashamed by how angry I was after Ohio State lost to Michigan State on Saturday.  I kept on saying I felt “robbed” of my Michigan vs. Ohio State week.  I even blogged about it on Monday.  What a waste of time and energy.  Chad Carr was robbed of his chance to grow up.  The Carr family was robbed of a son, grandson, and brother.  How stupid and silly of me to think that whether or not Michigan won the Big Ten mattered.  I’m going to get to go to the Michigan vs. Ohio State game on Saturday with my father.  And god willing, he and I and my son will get to go to many more games in the future.  Sure it’s more fun when we win, but the experience of being together with family is the real appeal.

I’m not going to pretend that I won’t be emotionally invested in the outcome of Saturday’s game.  And I’ll probably even be a little grumpy if we lose.  That’s part of the fun of sports.  But I’ll get over it, and quickly.    We all know that there are things bigger than sports (and if you’re one of those people that don’t, take a long look in the mirror).  It’s tragic that it takes something like a 5 year old battling cancer to remind us of this, but it is an important reminder nonetheless.  It’s Thanksgiving weekend, and if we’re lucky enough to spend it with family while watching or attending the game, then it is a weekend well spent, regardless of the outcome.

Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now but remind you that if you’re so inclined, you can donate to the Chad Tough Foundation here.

 

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