I know Washington, Illinois. I've been to the home of the Panthers a few times since I've been covering IHSA prep football over the years. And even in the wake of the devastation, the pain and the shock I am expecting the Panthers to have a huge crowd on Saturday afternoon in Springfield as the home team will travel to take on Sacred Heart Griffin (11-1).
Edgy Tim: Washington will bounce back from devastation
November 18, 2013, 7:30 pm
It's amazing the highs and lows life can throw at you in less than 24 hours. No one knows that more right now than the good people of Washington, Illinois.
On Saturday afternoon in Washington, Illinois, the Home of the Panthers, the town celebrated a Class 5A 41-7 state quarterfinal win against UHigh. The Panthers will advance to the Class 5A state semifinal round for the first time since 1985 and the third appearance in school history. Trust me, folks, that's big news and a bigger deal in Washington, Illinois than in many towns.
Yet less than 24 hours later high school football certainly pails in comparison to say the least from the devastation left in the wake of the tornado that rolled thorough Washington on Sunday afternoon.
Nothing will ever replace the horror and tragedy over the past day or so. And I would never think that a high school football game would even register a blip on the overall importance screen these days in Washington.
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Yet I also know Washington.
Washington will rebuild. Washington will support each other and will move forward step by step, day by day. I also expect that the Washington Panthers will play on Saturday and will be playing for more than a school, more than just family and friends and a shot to play for a state title. The Washington Panthers will play for Washington, Illinois. Washington, Illinois in turn will as always turn out and support their Panthers now more than ever. Some things just don't change no matter the circumstances in towns like Washington, Illinois.
So what happens on Saturday? Will Sacred Heart Griffin just roll over?
I also know Springfield Sacred Heart Griffin.
No one will want to beat Washington, Illinois more than Sacred Heart Griffin. Yet before and after the Class 5A state playoff game, the folks of Washington will draw support from the folks at SHG, that I can promise. Knowing SHG Hall of Fame head coach Ken Leonard, I'm sure support, help and more is already in the works. Because that's how the good people of SHG have always been. SHG will be there for Washington before and after the game. Yet once the whistle blows, it's about the game.
So my hope for this Saturday in Springfield is that the good people of Washington, Illinois can find a few hours of a distraction. That the people affected in and around Washington, Illinois can come together, support one another and enjoy a distraction for at least a few hours.
Win or lose, isn't that what sports is supposed to be all about?
Please make sure and support the people affected by the events on Sunday.