In the south college football is more than a sport. Team merchandise adorn households and fill closets. Saturday’s are spent tailgating before a game or hosting watch party’s, and grown men (and some women) will yell and scream at or threaten a flat screen in an attempt to celebrate with the team, convince a coach that he should have retired or a ref that he’s an idiot. Most southerners are die hard fans, and Hagen was no exception. Attending Razorback games was something he truly loved. Actually he loved everything football. It was his passion and he dominated on the field. Hearing his name and number echo across brought great joy and pride to this momma's heart. Hearing him cuss at the TVbecause of a fumble or bad call, not so much, but I’d give anything to watch another game with him. And his game day buddy would go to the ends of the earth to drive to Fayetteville with him one more time.
In years past this time of year had college football fans making plans to attend bowl games. The ultimate road trip followed by hopefully ultimate victory and celebration. Not this year. This year the stadiums will be empty.
As you watch the Rose Bowl or the Cotton Bowl (or whatever bowl your team is in) on television this year, I want you to take note of those empty seats. And then I want you to consider something. I want you to consider that the number of Americans that lost their lives to addiction from June 2019 to May 2020, an estimated 81,230, would fill those seats. It would take several other stadiums to accommodate the families and friends left behind. Fentanyl bought the majority of the tickets for us.
Hagen isn’t here to watch a bowl game. Neither are they. Please take time while you are gathered with your kids this holiday to talk to them. They may not be addicts but their first time could be their last. Fentanyl will make sure of that.
If you are struggling with your sobriety, or have found yourself at the bottom of the dark hole ready for help, please reachout to me.
You are not alone.