Sports can bring us together

Published 1:33 am Sunday, October 11, 2009

One of the perks for colleges having their sporting events televised is the 30-second commercials the schools get to run to tout themselves.

The commercials usually run around halftime and are usually pretty boring looks into how great the campus is, how great the professors are or how great the alumni are.

However, a couple of years ago, Auburn University came out with a series of commercials that were unlike most others.

Email newsletter signup

One of the commercials took place in a busy airport. A middle-aged black man is rushing through the airport wearing a suit and an Auburn lapel pin.

Across the way, a young white man wearing an Auburn T-shirt tries to calm a crying baby in a stroller.

The man in the suit spots the man with the baby and sees his Auburn shirt.

“War Eagle!” the man in the suit yells out as he walks over to the younger man and his baby.

“War Eagle,” the other guy replies as the two shake hands before going their separate ways.

The two men presumably had nothing in common but the school they supported, but that was enough to bring them together even if for just a moment.

Through the commercial, Auburn was trying to show potential students the family atmosphere that exists at the school and the bonds its graduates share even after they have long left the university.

But the commercial does more than that. It shows just how strong of a bond a university or a sports team has for people.

It doesn’t matter your race, political leanings or religion, on game day you are best friends with anyone wearing the same colors as you.

How many times have you sat in a stadium and started having a conversation with the stranger sitting next to you like you had known him for years? I know I have.

And before the game, if you’re looking for some food, just walk up to somebody’s tailgate and start chatting.

You’re likely to end up with food and drink before you go on your way.

Such is the power of sports. Sports brings people together that normally wouldn’t come together.

And right now, Natchez needs a lot of coming together.

City employees are being laid off, murders are happening at an alarming rate, racial slurs are being painted on political candidates signs, and schools are being vandalized.

And that’s just things that have happened in the last month.

Things seem pretty bleak at the moment with the divisiveness that is taking place throughout the area.

But come Friday or Saturday night, many of those same people who are divided during the week come together as one to support their favorite team.

Doesn’t it seem a little silly that the only time many of us bond together is over a sporting event?

So let’s take that togetherness and carry it over to the week. While we all might support different high school or college programs, we’re all on the same team during the week.

And that is trying to make Natchez and the Miss-Lou a jewel of the South.

Jeff Edwards is the sports editor for The Democrat. He can be reached at