By Justin Jarrett
You might have noticed there hasn’t been much sports content here lately. That’s to be expected, given there are no live sports to cover, but we had big plans for alternative content during this time that have fallen by the wayside.
Life gets in the way sometimes, and you might have noticed that life has been pretty heavy lately. We’re still producing our weekly podcast, but writing has been difficult, especially when the topic feels so insignificant in the moment.
Here we sit in the midst of a global pandemic, divided by differing opinions that are exacerbated by misinformation and overwhelming uncertainty. And now, our nation seems to be at a breaking point. People are marching in the streets daily in cities across the country — some of them peacefully, some not as peacefully — and demanding long-overdue change to the systems that have quietly oppressed people of color for far too long.
On Wednesday evening, I learned about 5:30 p.m. about a peaceful march in Old Town Bluffton starting at 6, and I got there as quickly as I could. I’m so glad I went.
It was one of the most beautiful and uplifting experiences of my life thus far. All ages and all races were represented. The Bluffton Police Department escorted us through the streets with the utmost professionalism and respect. They were a shining example of how a police department should handle this tumultuous moment in time.
I saw numerous young men and women I’ve covered as high school athletes over 15 years in the Lowco, and I helped several of them register to vote. I saw people with whom I have had strong disagreements and uncomfortable conversations over the years, and they were marching and chanting right beside me.
“No justice, no peace.”
“Say his name. GEORGE FLOYD.”
“Black lives matter.”
“I can’t breathe.”
After the group marched up Calhoun Street — named, as you might know, after Vice President John C. Calhoun, a former South Carolina Congressman who fought to protect the institution of slavery — and back to the Campbell AME Chapel, we engaged in an emotional 8 minutes, 46 seconds of silence to represent the time George Floyd was pinned to the ground under now former police officer Derek Chauvin’s kneeling weight, ultimately ending his life.
It was an interminably long time to be left with one’s thoughts, even if none of those thoughts was, “I can’t breathe,” or “you’re killing me.”
It’s common to tell sports journalists or other people we only interact with because of our shared passion for athletics to “stick to sports” when they step out and speak on a larger issue. We will never do that. From the start, Lowco has been about much more than sports. It’s about community. It’s about celebrating our shared successes, and our shared humanity.
That’s why when sports shut down, we started selling T-shirts to support local charities that are helping our friends and neighbors through this difficult time, ultimate raising more than $7,000 for local non-profits. It’s why we organized The Peirce Group LowcoStrong Virtual 5K to keep that spirit of community and giving going.
And it’s why we’re making it abundantly clear that we stand with people of color and all oppressed people in the Lowcountry and around the world. Let there be no doubt.
To our black and brown brothers and sisters, we see you and we support you.
Your lives matter. Black lives matter.
Some day soon, we’ll have live sports to write about again, and we’ll be thrilled for the opportunity.
But today, we can’t “stick to sports.” The stakes are too high.
Justin Jarrett is the founder of LowcoSports. He has a passion for sports and community journalism and a questionable sense of humor.
Photo by Jeff Coyle