ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: A trying eight days for EMU Football

Eastern Michigan players Ryan Brumfield and Quincy Jones take a moment to reflect on the events of the past week before EMU took on Northern Illinois Saturday in Dekalb the day after the team went to Demarius Reeds visitation service in Chicago.

Sometimes in life, we forget that football is nothing more than a game.

The last eight days have been a shining example of how tragedy can bring all of the schools together in the Mid-American Conference.

Schools from across the MAC have paid tribute to Demarius Reed in the last week with a moment of silence before the start of each game.

Also, before the start of today’s contest between the Eagles and the Huskies, a moment of silence was observed for Reed.

Northern Illinois University head coach Rod Carey summed up the thoughts of everyone outside of the Eastern Michigan University campus in the postgame interview on Saturday.

“I have never been through anything like that, but I do feel for them (EMU),” Carey said in a somber tone after defeating EMU 59-20.

“They’re dealing with some things that are way bigger than this game and so my hats off to them and coach English.”

Carey hit on the head with the latter statement because the bigger issue in the short-term is not the Eagles losing by 39 points to Northern Illinois, but the fact that at the end of the day, we must keep things in perspective as this is a team that has been thru an emotional roller-coaster ride.

Football players and coaches are human beings, not robots. They are prone to emotions just like you and I.

Every move the players make is seen by most fans and students and are the faces of the university.
I can’t fathom enduring the sudden loss of a close friend or family member and the emotional impact it carries over time.

For English to motivate his team to continue to carry on with football activities after the passing of Reed is a win on its own merit.

“To get that team ready to go last week and this week, I think that’s a credit to him and his coaching staff,” Carey said.

Who knows what the future of EMU football will look like after the end of the Nov. 29 game against Central Michigan University, but one thing is for certain and that is the power football has on players, coaches and the community.

Football can bring everyone together in the eye of tragedy and serve as a shining light to a dark situation that no family should ever have to endure.

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Follow Eugene Evans on Twitter @Genosportsguy.

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