Professional athletes provide guidance after tragedies

The world we live in is full of tragedies. It is something that every one of us needs to adapt to. In this day and age, sports teams take on a unique role. They are part of their respective cities, yet at the same time they are part of something much bigger. 

In times of tragedy, citizens have the opportunity to look to their respective teams for guidance. These teams offer something to cling to that is not malicious, polarizing or politically motivated. 

They offer a medium for which the people of the city can rally around together to convey a single strong message. This is exactly what has happened following the recent tragedy in Las Vegas, after a man opened fire on a crowd of people attending a country music concert. As the death toll rises, it has become the deadliest shooting in modern United States history—a sentence that seems to be thrown around far too much lately.

The details of this tragedy are disturbing, frightening and still somewhat unclear. In the wake of such a terrible event, we see just how prominent professional sports can be in helping cities heal. 

Las Vegas has a new National Hockey League team this season—the Vegas Golden Knights. Now, the team must begin their season under difficult conditions. This is something that, so far, they have handled with the grace and care of an organization well beyond its years. 

The Vegas Golden Knights have released statements extending thoughts and prayers to families, set up relief effort funds for families of victims and put the city of Las Vegas above everything else. Additionally, they have also partnered with the NHL and donated $300,000 to victims. 

Teams often do not know how to react in the shadow of events such as these. The people of Las Vegas need the Knights right now. The entire country needs them. 

The team’s efforts remain a positive aspect of a city in emotional ruins. One of the biggest things this team can do is make themselves available. Las Vegas first, hockey second. 

These actions help in the recovery process. In a world where, unfortunately, tragedies seem more and more commonplace, professional sports teams step up for their cities. Most recently, we saw the city of Houston rally around the Texans and the Astros in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Players—like Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, who raised millions of dollars for Harvey victims—became pivotal in their donations and morale building. 

During and following Hurricane Katrina, the city of New Orleans opened the doors to the New Orleans Saints’ home stadium as a safe haven for victims. Sports teams offer the perfect outlet during times like these. They need to impart the message that regardlessof creed, race, religion or political standing, we are all part of the healing process. This is something that we see time and time again following tragedies, natural or otherwise. 

In a world that often looks dark, especially in times of crisis and mourning, professional sports teams offer a beacon to look towards, through relief efforts, morale building or both. In times like these, sports teams must put their communities first.u