Nobody wants to go through it, but it’s the absolute least a school can do. If a student dies — something nobody wants to see happen — there is always a moment of silence to honor the memory of the deceased.
That is, of course, unless it’s raining. Then a moment becomes too much to spare.
At least that was the case at the University of Central Florida football game Saturday.
Iliana Limon, a writer for the Orlando Sentinel, reported on her blog Knights Notepad that the Knights decided not to honor a former player. Ereck Plancher, a 19-year-old wide receiver and cousin of USF running back Moise Plancher, died March 18 shortly after a preseason conditioning drill.
UCF planned to have a moment of silence in his honor before Saturday’s game against South Carolina State.
That moment never happened.
Limon reported that Joe Hornstein, UCF’s associate athletic director for marketing and communication, said that rain throughout the day pushed back all festivities leading up to kickoff. Because of these delays, the moment meant to remember Plancher’s life was cut out entirely.
On three, let’s all hurl.
Was this game was so important to the 42,126 people who braved the rain to watch it that the Knights’ athletic department couldn’t handle pushing it back long enough to give somebody a moment of respect? Not only was he one of the university’s own students — but to do that to any person is sickening.
It’s not like the Knights would have been holding up too many people, the game wasn’t televised. Fans had dealt with the weather all day, so another moment couldn’t have hurt.
The Knights also cancelled all of their halftime festivities because of the rain, a time that would have been perfect for a late but deserved moment of silence. There is a structured schedule before games, I’m sure of that. But a moment of silence lasts, what, 30 seconds?
I can see how delaying a game the equivalent of two plays — two plays! — could ruin a lot of timing issues.
The Knights did not give Plancher a moment of silence, but they did find ways to honor him.
According to Limon, UCF players wore Plancher’s initials on their helmets. The Knights will also have his initials on the field of Bright House Networks Stadium all season — so he was not completely forgotten.
And trying to hold a moment of silence at halftime may not have been a great idea, either. It’d be difficult to honor somebody while most of the stadium is buying food or beer or taking a bathroom break.
Not giving Plancher a moment, however, even if it would have delayed the game just a little longer than the rain, was disrespectful to him and his family.
A player should not have to wait to be honored because of a game; the game should wait to honor a player — plain and simple.
If there is any good to come from the rain delaying something that should take precedence over any pregame event, it’s the fact that USF junior running back Moise Plancher will be on hand to see UCF honor his cousin.
It is not the way Ereck Plancher deserves to be honored, but at least he will be. And while it was disrespectful to push something like a moment of silence back an entire week because it would have interfered with the schedule, making sure he gets honored at all is what is really important.
And, if Moise Plancher finds the endzone again this weekend, and points to the sky like he did after his first two touchdowns, everyone will know who he’s pointing to.
So when Ereck Plancher gets the moment he deserves, everybody at Bright House Networks Stadium should put aside the rivalry between the Bulls and Knights and take a moment to respect somebody who died too young.
Even if it’s raining.