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Sports … and The Christmas Truce

22 December 2015 Views From The Booth


Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas from the booth! Randy Woodward here with another “Views From The Booth”, my perspective of Shenandoah University athletics and beyond!

With Christmas just a few days away, I wanted to tie in sports with one of my favorite stories this time of year: the true story of an unlikely truce during World War I that has come to be known as The Christmas Truce of 1914. World War I was a brutal war fought in the trenches under extreme conditions. It was a war where weaponry outdated tactics and resulted in unspeakable carnage. In the midst of those horrors, something amazing happened. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 1914, British and German soldiers ventured into “no man’s land” and wished each other “Merry Christmas” in their native tongues, exchanging what gifts they could find, and played makeshift games of soccer. For an all-too-brief time, their differences were forgotten. They looked upon each other as brothers, not as foes. Alas, this unofficial truce would soon end, as the soldiers were ordered back to their respective sides. Men who found common ground were again shooting at and killing each other.

Sports is not war. The late comedian George Carlin did a classic bit about the similarities of military and football terminology. But football and warfare are not the same. Sports is a diversion from our humdrum everyday routines, and is meant to provide pleasure. Rarely does anyone die on a sports field, while many meet death on the battlefield. The fan wearing an opposing team’s jersey is not your enemy–he or she just happens to be wearing the other team’s gear. When a visiting fan is stabbed in a stadium parking lot, perspective is lost.

Let’s take a moment this Holiday season and think about those who protect us each and every day here at home and on foreign soil. Many of these men and women are away from their families at a time when we are surrounded by ours. While we enjoy our bowl games, they are “on that wall” looking out for us. Let us never confuse sports with a much more dangerous endeavor. A huge “Thank You” to all of our fighting men and women this Christmas!

Until next time…Happy Holidays and GO HORNETS!