The metro-Detroit community and Michiganders as a whole are still coming to terms with the horrific act of violence late last year at Oxford High School that saw a troubled student gun down four of his classmates and injuring several more.
Oxford High School is about 45 minutes northwest of downtown Detroit.
The Detroit Lions are making the most of a terrible situation, following through on their dedication of the game ball from their first regular-season victory in December over the Minnesota Vikings to “the entire Oxford community”. The ball, which was repainted in commemorative colors, was hand-delivered by Lions vice president of communications Bill Keenist to Oxford athletic director Tony DeMare.
“Anytime people follow through on their commitment, it shows authenticity. It shows that they’re genuine,” DeMare said after receiving the ball. “It just heightens your respect for those individuals.”
“11/30 has a different meaning in Oxford now. It’s not time to go to bed or get ready for lunch. Those numbers will never be forgotten for the honor of everybody involved,” Keenist said. “The football will remain forever as another symbol of that.”
“I hope it represents to them just to never quit and that fight because I feel like with that shooting that went down, I feel like a lot of students could maybe become hopeless or lose motivation,” Lions rookie wideout Amon-Ra St. Brown said after he caught the game-winning touchdown against the Vikings on December 5. “For us, that game would literally describe what they’re going through. We were [0-10-1] and figured out a way to win. A lot of people thought we were going to go winless all season, so we figured out a way to win at the end, and for me, it was a message to them to never quit.
“It’s always hope, even in the worse times,” he added. “There’s always something to look forward to. You’ve just got to keep pushing, keep working, so I think it was just perfect how everything played out with Coach Campbell giving them that ball. Hopefully it gives them motivation moving forward.”
– – Quotes via ESPN Link – –