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The Power of Sports: Nashville responds to tragedy

(Photo: Johnny Wakefield)


by Russell Varner

For many people, soccer – and sport in general – is an escape from the everyday, from things that bring us down or weigh on our minds to the point of negativity or depression.

Other times, sport can be a reason to have hope in humanity again.

In the midst of tragedy especially, we can find both, and the first week of March gave us an example of just that. On March 3, a massive tornado ripped through Nashville - killing at least 24, injuring many more, and causing countless dollars in damage to fan and athlete alike. (Just check out what it did to Nashville SC midfielder David Accam’s apartment.) The damage was a frightening reminder of just what mother nature is capable of, of how fragile life really is, and of what really matters.

For all the damage and destruction the tornado caused though, the tornado has also brought out the best in people. That of course extends to the supporters in Nashville SC's supporters group collective (The Backline) and to the team itself, which had just had their MLS debut the prior weekend. The team  spent time off the training pitch helping out in the local area, cleaning upand taking donations. They also created a new hashtag (#NGUOY), video campaign, and patch that they wore on their jerseys for their loss against Portland, patches which were then auctioned off to help raise funds for the relief effort.

Portland, to their credit, created a special code for tickets for the match and donated almost 43% of their proceeds to the relief effort.

The Backline has listed multiple ways you too can help support those affected by the tornado on this site. Efforts range from approved places to donate money and clothes to links to buy ‘Nashville Strong’ T-shirts to help raise money for the relief effort. Nashville SC also said in a statement that you can donate to the Restore the Dream fund here or by texting ‘RESTORE20’ to 41444.

Tragedies like this always teach us to be kind and love one another. Seeing the response from our soccer friends in Tennessee reinforces the positive potential of groups like these, of sports like ours, and reminds us of the power that we all have to do good in our community. If you're so inclined, show our new friends some Southern hospitality, and let's all remember their example next time our fellow Carolinians are in need.

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