Football & Foul Weather
by Brian North

We are reminded once again that Mother Nature hits harder than any middle linebacker in college football. Hurricane Katrina smacked the gulf coast with a fury not seen in 36 years. Miami, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Hattiesburg, and Oxford are just some of the college towns that were left in ruin in Katrina's wake. And we here in the east should be able to empathize with those affected.

It was six years ago we here in Eastern North Carolina got double teamed by Hurricane's Dennis and Floyd and the result was the "Flood of the Century." The rest of the country reached out and lent a helping hand. I will never forget the devastation to all the area cities and towns. I will also never forget that ECU's football team became a rallying point for people.

The Pirates gave those affected a little something to distract them in a horrible time in their lives. The win at South Carolina over Lou Holtz and the Gamecocks didn't get people's house or personal possessions back, but it did give "Downeasters" something to feel good about.

Then there was the epic upset of Miami in Raleigh. The "Flood Bowl." You all know the story, down 23-3, the Pirates came back to win and upset the appropriately named Hurricanes. The scene on the field afterward was one of triumph, relief, joy, jubilation; like something was finally right in the world for those who had endured the horrific conditions of the previous week.

Now it's Tulane and Southern Miss and LSU and Mississippi's turn. The games will go on, and they will give fans something to grasp onto. It's silly to think football will solve people's tragic problems, but they will help in the healing process. Let's hope we are all spared this sort of tragedy in the future, but if it does happen, we know that as a society we can overcome. It's the triumph of the American spirit seen in both sports and in life's obstacles. So bring on the football season, and let the healing begin.

Brian North