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No Such Thing as Satire



My role here at Pistols Firing Blog is pretty basic.

I’m a guy who critiques sports and sports rhetoric through jokes and satire.

My goal is usually to point out how ridiculous and wonderful the whole enterprise of OSU and Big 12 sports is. Sports matter, but not as much as it feels sometimes.

But on a week like this one, following a tragedy like Homecoming, I struggle to find anything to say. Jokes seem wrong, even ones I initially tried to include here as examples.

I know laughter is good medicine, but if I’m honest, I don’t think I have it in me.

You see, Saturday was nearly a week after my wife had our first baby, a little boy. So in the wake of exhaustion and huge change, I was looking optimistically toward the game and dressing my son in the ironic outfits we put on children not old enough to speak. Football would be fun and the energy around Homecoming is always high.

I didn’t hear about the crash at first. My father-in-law and I even went to get Slim Chickens shortly after it happened. Our route to the restaurant went down McElroy and took a right heading away from the crash scene.

I could have probably looked left and watched them medevac people from the scene, but I didn’t know about any of it until I got home.

My experience of the event then became like most of ours.

I followed the news, the camaraderie from other schools across the Big 12 and the country, and found it hard to take in.

But despite being part of the OSU community, my reaction and pain felt a bit small.

After all, I wasn’t there. Unlike several people I know, I didn’t watch the car tear through the crowd or rush to give aid. I followed the news from less than a mile away.

But I still felt pain because, aside from many other reasons, these people were my people. Whether they went to OSU, (which many of them didn’t), or wore orange that day, they were there to gather around one of the many sports traditions we build our universities on.

This is the strange magic of collegiate athletics: I may not know you, but if you say “Go Pokes!” or go to the game, we’re part of the same tribe. This connection isn’t unique to college sports, but it has a different flavor here.

Which is why I understood not cancelling the game, even though I barely watched it as I followed developments on Twitter and my son slept in my lap. Each update broke me a little. From the injury list to adding two-year-old Nash Lucas to the death count. But so did the support.

Seeing OU flying an OSU flag during their game felt small but important. Hearing Stoops and other coaches voice their support felt small but important. Reading countless bloggers and journalists from across the country pledging their prayers and thoughts felt small but important.

These little gestures and all the tragedies of that day piled themselves up until that day had become more than just the time we beat the tar out of Kansas.

It’s a day where we saw that the only real value of our traditions, of football and pomping and walk-around and the parade, was in how it brought us together so that when the unthinkable happened, we were all there to lend a hand.

We drove each other to the hospital, freed each other from wreckage, pushed each other out of the way of disaster, prayed for each other, but not because of sports. That may have been the reason at first, but it’s not anymore.

Sports was all that it could be Saturday, but it wasn’t much, not compared to the life that happened around it.

So when I say I don’t have any laughter to give, that’s what I mean. We’ll get back to the jabs and jokes soon enough and life will move on, but for me, right now, there’s no such thing as satire.

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