I just learned a few minutes ago that at 7:15 tonight before the South Stanly varsity football game, there will be a special ceremony honoring the memories of Austin Burleson and Hunter Mauldin.
I didn't know the two students that died in the car crash Wednesday, but Hunter Mauldin's mother and grandparents have both worked as newspaper deliverers for the Stanly News and Press. In fact, Lynn and Trudy Maske continue to deliver the paper, and delivered yesterday's edition, which included a story on the death of their grandson. Just the thought of having to deliver that kind of news hitting so close to home for them is so very sad.
Tonight will be a much different atmosphere as it is the first South Stanly athletic activity since the tragedy occurred, and it is likely that the tone of things will be different.
Sports has a way of uniting communities, and having gone to high school in a small community in Hayesville, I remember how a group of young women rallied the support of hundreds in the chase of state championship glory.
In the case of South Stanly, the community's support for the baseball team in their playoff runs in 2009 and this past spring show how important the school is to the community.
Tonight won't be easy for any of us.