It was a bittersweet match-up as Maryville College and the University of Virginia-Wise faced each other on the field. The fans were cheering. The coaches were leading their teams in search of a victory. But it was anything but an ordinary football game.
“It's kind of mixed emotions cause I don't know if they should be playing the game or not in light of what's happened,” says Maryville College alum Brent Watts.
But Maryville College's dean of students says he and the staff knew the game should go on. Dr. Bill Seymour saw the game “as a way for our community to come together and use this event to celebrate the United States, to give prayer, also to give honor to those who are helping to find victims still perhaps trapped, but also to honor those that died in the tragedy on Tuesday.”
Many fans agreed. Brian Gossett said “It gives the people around here in the community an opportunity to get out and take their mind off of what they're seeing all the time on tv.”
“Football's American as anything else in America,” adds Darrel Lauderdale.
But some fans admitted the game was just a temporary distraction.
“It's good to get away. It's kind of a break from what's going on, but you know, there's more important stuff in life than what's going on here today — a greater problem we gotta deal with.”
There was a prayer before the game and Maryville students collected donations for the Red Cross National Disaster Relief Fund to help victims families and volunteers.
The final score of the game was Virginia-Wise 41, Maryville 3.