Home Sports Local Sports This week’s NFL Draft a start to normalcy

This week’s NFL Draft a start to normalcy

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AP File Photo New York Giants back Joe Morrison (40) gets away for a gain of 19 yards in first period play against the Philadelphia Eagles at Philadelphia’s Franklin Field, Nov. 27, 1960. Trying to halt him are the Eagles’ Joe Robb (66); Maxie Baughan (55); Tom Brookshier (40) and Ed Khayat (73). On the ground is the Giants’ Mel Triplett (33). Brookshier played at Roswell High in the late 1940s.

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Finally, the NFL has returned. By the time Roswell and Chaves County sports fans read this column, a couple of things will have happened and been witnessed by football fans.

As the cameras pan to the basement of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Goodell will make a welcoming statement to football fans around the world.

With that statement, he will turn to fans and say, “With the first pick in the 2020 NFL draft, the Cincinnati Bengals are on the clock.” The Bengals will not even delay suspense as they immediately hand the card in and draft Joe Burrow.

There will be something to witness, a player hugging their parents and family. The feel-good story about all the hard work that pays off and says dreams do come true if you’re willing to work hard enough.

Sports is one of the few vehicles that can create generational wealth for families while lifting them out of survival and poverty. As Americans and sports fans, we want to feel that. We need to have that good moment like it is happening to us, with just a mention of a name.

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Never in my lifetime has sports been shut down for any length of time — never from the professional level to the little league level. When 9/11 happened, there was a resolve that no terrorist was going to interrupt our way of life. We played baseball and football and Americans rallied and came up with the slogan, “America Strong.”

Everyone knows what has happened, and the tragedy that has transpired. But sports fans need this NFL draft now, as much if not more than they needed it during 9/11. With 9/11 we knew what we were fighting, and we could defend ourselves, but with COVID-19, it is a seemingly invisible opponent that we do not know how to fight or beat.

Americans are scared to leave their house, scared to have human contact, and scared to live their life. Americans are not used to living like this: prisoners to the unseen.

No. Whether you as a sports fan like Commissioner Goodell or not, and whether your team selects the player you wanted, this is a good thing and a welcome sight because this gives the sports fans an uplift to our morale.

When I say, “we or us,” I am talking about the boys and girls along with the men and women that dream about sports. People that live their lives by and through sports. People that feel like when their team wins, they win. I am talking about people that plan their wardrobe around their favorite team.

This NFL draft means more to America than words can say. It means that at the professional level they are making plans to play football in the fall. That should give us encouragement that our high school sports will return in the fall as well.

Fans, go ahead and cheer, boo, and argue as you used to. This week’s NFL draft means we are one step closer to returning to sports being a part of our TV schedule and our way of life again.

One last note: The New Mexico Activities Association will meet at 9 a.m. on May 6. Read my interview with NMAA’s Dusty Young in a future edition.

Sports editor J.T. Keith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 304, or sports@rdrnews.com.