“It has been said, 'time heals all wounds.' I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.”
― Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy
Tuesday morning the world awoke to the devastating reports that a flight carrying 77 passengers, including Chapecoense FC players, staff and journalists, had crashed just outside of Medellin, Colombia. The chartered flight was carrying the team to face Atletico Nacional in the 2016 Copa Sudamericana Final, before experiencing electrical and fuel problems that would claim the lives of 71 aboard.
The gravity of this tragedy has sent global shock waves through the footballing community, as we try to make sense of this senseless disaster. But it is in these times of great sorrow that we are reminded of the decency and humanity of our community.
As news of the Chapecoense tragedy spread, the out pour of compassion, empathy, and support for the victims, fans, and community of Chapeco has been boundless. Soccer communities all over the world have come to mourn together. Stadiums from Wembley to Allianz lit green in remembrance, a millions of supports from a dozen different leagues observing moments of silence to pay their respects. Even EA Sports has publically shared their condolences and released both Chapecoense kits & team crest for free download on FIFA 2017, encouraging their users to suit up and commiserate those lost.
Rivalries on the field cannot divide the bond of this community. Wednesday, on what would have been the night of the Copa Sudamericana Final, 130,000 Atletico Nacional fans overflowed the stadium to pay tribute to their football brothers. Fellow Serie A (Brazil’s top division) teams, have also come together in support of Chapecoense, offering to loan players for free and announcing Chape will be exempt from relegation for three years while they recover from their great loss.
For those who claim that soccer is just a game, look around. It is so much more. It’s a community, it’s a family, it’s a bond, and we are here for each other. There’s a reason it’s call the beautiful game. There are few things in this world that can unite so many different people from so many different places. And in this time of grief and sadness, it bring great solace to know in this together.