Ryan Chartrand

I want to start by saying my heart goes out to the people who lost someone in the tragedy at Virginia Tech.

Being a college student, I can’t even imagine that happening on my campus. It’s literally impossible to comprehend an incident like that.

I’m sure many students around the country had many questions after this incident.

How can a school rebound from something like that? Will Virginia Tech ever recover?

That question honestly never even crossed my mind. American people are just too resilient. We just refuse to be knocked down. If you don’t believe me, just YouTube “We are Virginia Tech/Nikki Giovanni.” When you do, you’ll see how our generation responds.

We have always been able to bounce back from tough times through sports. When Sept. 11 happened, America became united.

I’ll never forget when I was in high school, seeing everyone in New York rally around the Yankees. People couldn’t help but root for a team that symbolized something of a greater magnitude.

Too often, we spend so much time in the media writing about the negative aspects of everything that surrounds sports. We ignore the good people and positive aspects.

We spent days on end talking about guys like Pacman Jones and Barry Bonds.

It would be hypocritical for me not to take responsibility for talking about these meaningless people. About people that don’t represent what sport is really about and don’t represent what the majority of athletes are actually like.

Sometimes we forget about guys like Pat Tillman, who represented not just the NFL, but this country.

Tillman’s college teammate and roommate, Jeremy Staat, was so inspired by him that he enlisted, and is now deployed in Iraq. Or that University of Maryland offensive guard Donnie Woods gave up something greater than football to enlist in the military. He was a two-year starter and only a junior on top of being an NFL prospect.

We never stop hearing stories about players doing steroids or other drugs. So-and-so got busted with two strippers, a pound of marijuana and a gun.

What about a guy like Josh Hamilton?

Probably the best feel-good story in all of baseball. He was the first player chosen in the 1999 MLB Draft, known as one the brightest prospects any scout had ever seen. That was until he fell into addictions to drugs and alcohol – addictions he would eventually lose.

Out of baseball completely by 2005, Hamilton was on MLB’s restricted list and banned from the sport, until an encounter with his grandmother changed his life.

Through a petition, the former No. 1 overall pick was traded for some cash this offseason to the Cincinnati Reds.

He went into spring training with absolutely nothing to lose, mainly because he had already lost everything.

Hamilton not only made the opening-day roster, but took Ken Griffey Jr.’s position in center field. He exploded on the field while turning his life around off it. He leads the team in homers, RBI and batting average.

Sports are a huge part of our culture. So regardless of all the bad stories you may encounter, it’s the good ones that draw us to the games.

So while Jones and Don Imus may grab the headlines, it’s athletes like Tillman, Staat, Woods and Hamilton who define sports.

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