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Walker column: Sporting events can help victims

All we think about in this country is playing ball, even in the wake of the disaster Hurricane Katrina in the New Orleans area.

And isn't that just great?

No, sports are not more important than life. Sports have their place in our society even if we elevate it and those who play the games to a loftier status than they should be given.

There have been those who have called for all sporting contests to shut down because of the disaster, but the opposite is the real answer.

Americans love their sports, but they also love helping those in need, especially their fellow Americans.

It is that reason why sporting events such as college and pro football, major league baseball and the U.S. Open tennis tournament should continue as scheduled.

Such events are asking fans for donations. Through these venues, Americans who double as sports fans have a stage in which they can help the victims.

Here are just a few examples of how sporting events are helping aid the hurricane victims:

€ 7-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong will donate $500,000 to cancer patients displaced by the hurricane.

€ College football games across the country collected money.

€ Alabama fans have dropped off tickets to the Red Cross so some 300 refugees can have a chance to see a Crimson Tide game.

€ Oakland quarterback Kerry Collins will make a $1,000 donation to the Red Cross for every touchdown pass he throws and every game the Raiders win.

€ Green Bay will have an autograph session and blood drive to help raise money.

€ Deion Sanders has called for all professional teams to give at least $1,000 apiece through payroll deductions to reach a goal between $1.5 to $3 million.

And the list goes on and on.

If conducting sporting contests at this time is wrong, then where do we draw the line? Should we stop going to the movies and send those admission dollars to the gulf area? Should we feel guilty if we take the family to the Shake Shoppe on Sunday night for a special treat?

Life cannot stop. We've never stopped in the past in the face of tragedy or war. We need to continue with our lives and use life's good things to do even better things.

Jim Walker is sports editor of The Ironton Tribune.