Detroit Lions Change Their Game Plan In Response To The Oxford Shootings

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – DECEMBER 5: The helmet of Scott Daly # 47 of the Detroit Lions with a sticker … [+] Assisting Oxford High School before the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field on December 05, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya)

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On the Saturday before their game against the Minnesota Vikings, the Detroit Lions didn’t follow the schedule of a typical NFL week. Usually that day before the game is jam-packed with last-minute adjustments and walkthroughs, high doses of treatment and therapy, followed by encouragement from the coaches, so the energy levels would be high if the team split up for the day and the players were totally ” in the zone “.

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – DECEMBER 05: A fan in the stands wears an Oxford High School jersey … [+] The soccer team holds a sign in memory of those who were recently shot before the game between the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions at Ford Field on December 05, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio)

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But on that particular Saturday, Lions were giving up an opportunity to focus solely on pre-game preparation to divert their attention to something they believed was far more important than football: how to get the word out of an Oxford High School shooting at 30 understands and responds to it miles outside of Detroit. The tragedy had happened four days earlier when a 15-year-old sophomore student opened fire, killing four students and injuring seven others. (The student is charged with murder and terrorism as an adult, and his parents were also charged with negligent homicide.)

At the Lions training facility, it was decided that the team would use their efforts not just to score a win, but to remember the people who fell that day.

Win or lose the game, these Lions played for Tate Myre, the school’s soccer star and top student, Madisyn Baldwin, an aspiring artist, Hana St. Juliana, a member of her school’s volleyball and basketball teams, and Justin Schilling, who played golf and bowling and worked at a restaurant in the Middle East, where he was known as “an exemplary employee.” They played not only for the killed, but also for the injured, who, like their fallen classmates, were preoccupied with life and good children.

Lions players were shown videos of the victims, stories told of the events surrounding the tragedy, and were encouraged to keep each of these families in their hearts as they stood against their favorite Minnesota rival 24 hours later.

Something extraordinary happened. The winless Lions fought for 60 minutes, beating well above their weight class.

When the game ended, Detroit’s tearful coach Dan Campbell spoke at a press conference: “This match ball goes to the entire Oxford community and everyone concerned. Besides that, man, I just want … so as not to forget those names. ”And then he read the appeal of the dead and wounded: Myre, Baldwin, Juliana and Shilling, as well as Phoebe Arthur, Jon Asciutto, Riley Franz, Elijah Mueller, Kylie Ossege, Aiden Watson and Molly Darnell who are a teacher.

“These names are never forgotten and are in our hearts and in our prayers,” concluded Campbell.

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – DECEMBER 5: Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell takes to the field … [+] to wear an Oxford High School shirt before the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field on December 5, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio)

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Campbell told the assembled press exactly how he and his team stepped back from preparing for game day, assessed their priorities in “real life” and developed a new game plan. “My thought was, ‘Hey man, if we can give you a little three hours of relief from your suffering, it’s worth it,'” Campbell said. “And that’s how I imagined it and we just did a great job.” . “Campbell continued,” I hope they all watched today and enjoyed this win, and we can distract ourselves from whatever it is for three hours. I think whenever we can, is it’s much bigger than our sport, it’s much bigger than us. I think today is one of those special circumstances that has enabled us to face the situation and make something special come true. “

Of course, you don’t have to respond to a terrible event to play for a bigger cause. What we need to do is step back from our blown up lives to reassess priorities. The encouraging news on this front is, first, that there is an almost limitless number of things that are considered a “greater purpose” than simply fulfilling our contracts to do this or that job for this or that pay. And playing for a bigger cause motivates us to work exponentially, harder, smarter, more collaborative, and in service for longer term than short term goals. And I have to wonder if these Detroit players, who have experienced what it feels like to do every block and tackle for the lost Oxford boys, will ever play their game the same way again.

Oh, and the bottom line: Detroit WON 29-27.

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