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By Mike Copper, Tom Reisenweber, Jeff Kirik Erie Times-News staff bloggers
The Varsity blog is the 2013 winner of an international EPPY award for best sports blog. EPPYs are awarded to media-affiliated websites by Editor & Publisher, an industry trade publication. Varsity is primarily maintained by Times-News sports writers Mike Copper and Tom Reisenweber and sports editor Jeff Kirik.   Read more about this blog.
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Reisen Shine – Emotional night ahead

It’s going to be a tough night at Veterans Stadium. Girard and Sharon will meet in the District 10 Class AA football quarterfinals. The winner continues its season and the loser packs it up for the season. It could be a zoo as well with all kinds of media covering the game. Sharon lost two student-athletes to a tragic car accident Friday night and two others are in a Youngstown hospital. The accident devastated the Sharon community, which held a vigil Sunday night at the football field.

Accidents like these always put things in perspective. Do sports even matter right now? How do you deal with this kind of tragedy? Can sports be an outlet for grief? The answers for each question are different for everyone. The Sharon football team decided to still play its game against Girard. I can’t overstate how impressed I am with the strength of these young men to play for their teammates. A win or a loss doesn’t really matter at this point. If you can look past the tragedy and focus on the football side, the four players missing were all starters, three on the line and one wide receiver. But I have a feeling their teammates will fill those holes admirably. Greg and Craig Osmon are in stable condition in the hospital and will no doubt be asking for minute-by-minute updates of the game. There will be a moment of silence for Corey Swartz and Evan Gill, who lost their lives too early in the tragic accident. There will be fans showing up to the game with no rooting interest, but to just support the Sharon community and the team. This is an unfortunate circumstance that has affected communities up and down District 10. On Saturday evening, the Northwestern football team wore orange “S” decals on the backs of their helmets. At the same time, several members of the Fairview football team wore orange tape and orange socks. Girard sent food down to the Sharon players and families in a show of support. The hashtag #PrayForSharon has filled Twitter timelines as anyone with a connection to Sharon is sending thoughts and prayers to the community. I saw multiple tweets stating “Everyone is a Sharon Tiger today”. The support has been unbelievable and has only been matched by the strength the football team is showing by playing tonight. There will no doubt be tears, prayers and moments that touch everyone at Veterans Stadium tonight. Even if you aren’t a football fan, I encourage you to come out and support these young men. It’ll be a night that everyone will remember, three nights after a night everyone wants to forget.

–Tom Reisenweber

Posted in: Football

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