There are often a lot of jokes to be made about living in a small town. Some ‘big city folk’ think there is nothing to be said for living in a small town. I disagree.
Community is to be said for a small town.
Support for the people you live with, even if you don’t know them.
You will be hard-pressed to find people who will show up for one another the way they will in a small town. Especially when tragedy strikes.
By now, we have all heard about Max Engle. The Jersey Shore senior football player who collapsed on the field at the end of a football game. It is absolutely heartbreaking. And every parent’s worst fear.
But amongst the fear and heartbreak, something else has emerged. Unity.
People, athletes, students, and local communities have come together to support Max and his family, fellow players, and the entire Jersey Shore community.
The amount of Bulldog Orange I have seen on social media in the last week has been incredible. People who have never met Max wearing orange and black, sending their prayers and well-wishes. Sharing their own piece of the Engle family’s heartbreak.
Local businesses, local families, and local school districts have all come together to show their support to the Engle family in any way that they can. Be that wearing orange, donating to the Engles, or just praying for a miracle for Max.
And not just in our Lycoming/Clinton County area. From the Northern Tier to the Coal Region — I even saw a post from as far away as Texas — people have gathered to support a family most have never met.
There is not a lot of good to be found in a situation like this. Hopefully, out of this tragedy, we can all hold on to the sense of community and unity we are all feeling right now.
We live in a world where it’s so easy to get caught up in ourselves that we lose sight of everything else around us. Other people’s struggles and pain. How what we do and say affects those around us.
In times like these, we get a stark reminder that community matters. Investing in yourself while investing in the people around you is how community is built. It’s how we know that even when we inevitably fall or fail, or God forbid, the worst happens, there will be people around us to help pick us up and make those struggles a little more bearable.
If you need it, this is your reminder to care. To be involved. To take pride in your communities and care about your neighbors. We are stronger together, and we need to remember that we need each other. We need to know that we can count on the other members of our communities and neighborhoods. We need to take care of each other. Stand up for each other. Love each other.
This isn’t the article that I had intended to write this week, and it isn’t the space I had intended to write in. Jimmy will be back at it next week. As many of us are doing, he’s spending some time with his son Hunter in Connecticut.
Speaking of. There is not a lot of good to be found in a situation like this. It’s ugly and horrible. It’s unfair. No parent or family deserves this kind of pain. But, if you can find any sort of light, use this as an opportunity to love your kids extra. Take more time for hugs. For quality time. For family time. Life is fleeting and often unfair. Don’t waste a moment.
If you find that your kids are struggling with this, please reach out for help. I know a lot of the school districts are offering counseling, so please encourage them to talk about their feelings — with you, with friends, and, if needed, with a professional. This kind of heartbreak can bring up big feelings. Ones that kids have often never dealt with before, so please keep an eye out for those that may be having a tough time. Seek out extra resources if necessary.
Obviously, football means a lot to everyone at Webb Weekly. We all send our thoughts and prayers and hope for a miracle to Max, his family, and, again, the entire Jersey Shore community. I hope they all see all of the people they have standing behind them in this unbelievably difficult time.