Saturday, Oct 22, 2016
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A season of healing

THE decision of Bluffton University's baseball team to finish its season does not mean that anyone has forgotten or otherwise devalues the deaths of five players who were killed in the March 2 bus crash in Atlanta.

On the contrary, heading back to the diamond is a fitting tribute to the young athletes who perished so tragically on their way to open spring play in Florida.

Their families agreed on resuming the team's schedule and we believe that, if they were still with us, the decision would be welcomed by David Betts, Scott Harmon, Cody Holp, Tyler Williams, and Zachery Arend.

As university President James Harder put it, the five "were passionate about the game of baseball, and in that respect we honor them best by playing good baseball at Bluffton University."

The school and the Bluffton community - indeed all of northwest Ohio - suffered an irreparable loss in the crash, which also killed the bus driver, Jerome Niemeyer, and his wife, Jean. But an essential element of dealing with that loss and healing both physically and mentally is getting on with life, while taking care to suitably honor the dead.

To memorialize the young men, the Beavers team will be wearing all-black jerseys when it takes the field for its first game against Mount St. Joseph of Cincinnati on March 30.

The accident, which occurred when the driver mistakenly steered onto an unusual left exit lane and off an I-75 overpass in downtown Atlanta, captured the attention and touched the hearts of many Americans.

In the aftermath, several sports equipment manufacturers, including Nike and Wilson Sporting Goods, donated equipment to replace what was destroyed in the crash. The Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, and Florida Marlins also provided new balls, bats, and gloves.

That spirit of generosity is just one measure of the overwhelming outpouring of love, concern, and prayer that has continued unabated since the accident.

With the Bluffton team back on the field, let the season of healing begin.

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