When the Arizona Wildcats defeated the Stanford Cardinal on Sunday, they did more than just win a game. They, for a moment at least, lifted the spirits of a city mourning a tragedy. Tucson, Arizona is one of those cities that you would call a "big little city". Despite its size, Tucson has maintained the feel of a small college town. It has an open and inviting feeling, while being surrounded and seemingly protected by the mountains that appear to set fire in a beautiful display during sunrise and sunset.
I am a citizen of the great city of Tucson. I love this city. While my life may one day take me other places, I'll always return to my real home in the desert of southern Arizona. And while Tucson has its fair share of crime, it has always felt like a safe place to live. So I when I heard the news that someone had murdered and injured more than a dozen people in Tucson, among them a congresswoman, a judge, and a child, I wasn't sure how to react or even how to feel. I suspect that I was not alone in my uncertainty. I found myself at times confused, sad and angry. How could this happen in our city, in broad daylight? How do the citizens of Tucson react to this tragedy? How dare this monster commit such a heinous act? What can be done for the families of the victims?
With all of this emotion, the people of Tucson need an outlet. A way to publicly mourn. Perhaps more importantly, they need something to cheer for, and a reason to smile. The Arizona Wildcats gave them just that. The moment of silence before the game, gave everyone a chance to stand together and reflect on the events of the prior day, and the game itself gave fans across the city and state a reason to smile. Was it a dominating victory? No, but that's ok. It was an exciting game, fueled by sadness that gave way to local pride, and the desire to lift the spirits of the city.
The sadness and confusion stemming from this past Saturday will not soon go away, but for a little while, the Arizona Wildcats gave us a smile, and a reason to cheer. And lets remember that, Wildcat fans. Remember that our beloved Arizona Wildcats gave the city a way to honor the victims of January 8th, and then they gave them a reason to smile.
So keep it up, boys. Every game gives us a chance to cheer, jump up and down, and smile despite the sad time the people of Tucson are enduring.
Video- Arizona head coach Sean Miller's post game press conference.
'Arizona holds moment of silence.' -ESPN.com
'Arizona beats Stanford in game postponed by shooting' -ESPN.com