OXFORD, Mich. – Friday night’s home opener mixed the community’s love of the game with a special remembrance.
Among the students killed in that Nov. 30 shooting was Tate Myre, the football team captain.
Before the Oxford Wildcats varsity football team ever hit the field, it’s tradition for the team to link up arm and arm and get cheered on by their parents.
Friday (Sept. 2) night, the only difference was in the flags the players carried, which were the Stars and Stripes, Oxford schools flags as usual, but now the addition of a flag that reads TM No. 42.
“The number 42 for Oxford football has legacy type undertones where players who are extremely competitive and extremely accomplished wear that number,” Athletic Director Tony DeMare said.
The team now refers to No. 42 as their forever captain, and on Friday, the team and entire school community honored him on the field with a tribute video.
His mom, dad, and extended family heard his voice once more as he spoke about how much he loved the team on the scoreboard which can be seen and heard in the video player above.
They then paid tribute to Baldwin, St. Juliana, Shilling, and Myre with a moment of silence.
The capacity crowd stood on their feet for a moment of silence for all four students.
As one woman told Local 4, “I know it’s just football, but it makes me feel better.”
Parents like Mike Aldred, who have children on the team, say that much of this is familiar and comforting yet so hard.
“I don’t think it’ll ever return to normal, but this is what people are going to have the chance to see: our town, our people, our community.”
The Wildcats defeated the Groves Falcons 17-14.