There are no World Cup matches today. LeBron has made his decision. Lincoln Kennedy, the Oklahoma coach, probably didn’t mean to cast aspersions on the SEC when he said Georgia wouldn’t be a Top 5 defense in the Big 12 — he was just pointing out the spread offenses that proliferate in that league. (Even if he was taking a thinly veiled shot, it shouldn’t spark a shouting war.) There will be many chances to argue about college football in the next few weeks, if you feel like you must.

Today, in the 242nd anniversary of America declaring itself an independent country and no longer subject to the rule of England, maybe there is a chance for a moment of silence.

That doesn’t have to mean the somber moment of silence, the kind that we have when there are tragedies, personal ones like the passing of a friend or colleagues at another newspaper, or a fallen soldier serving his country. Tragedy happens, and is not the sole property, nor the sole fault, of any person with any particular viewpoint.

This is a sports page in a local newspaper. There are other places where the weighty political issues can be debated into infinity. That doesn’t mean that sports personalities can’t have opinions. Every American should, and should express them at the ballot box. The free exchange of ideas is part of what makes this country great.

But today, remember that it doesn’t all have to be fireworks and hot dog eating contests and noise. All those things are as American as lively debate. But don’t forget to take a moment of reflection, however that manifests itself. Pause to think of the things you love. If you think things are going great, pause to take pride. If you think things could be better, pause to think of a positive, constructive way to change them. Go somewhere beautiful — there are hundreds of natural wonders in Alabama, some spectacular and some as simple as a park or a tree-lined street. If that moves you, that’s all to the good. Take that moment to reflect, not frame an argument. There will be plenty of time for that, every day, on almost every channel or social media site.

For college sports fans and those of us lucky enough to have the chance to make a living reporting on college sports, these are, relatively speaking, quiet weeks, a small break in a year that now runs from the start of football media days (less than two weeks away for the Southeastern Conference) to the end of the College World Series. It’s a long stretch and it’s not all untouched by the outside world. There are issues in sports, just like everywhere else. But there is a coexistence of fierce (sometimes vicious) rivalry and (for most fans) respect for the games, the athletes, the idea that you can suffer a setback and still find solace that there is another chance not too far away in the future.

If you can, find that moment of silence today. Think how you can make the future better, or, if you think the status quo is great, how you can share that greatness. It’s not a moment of silence that means “shut up, I disagree!” It’s just a chance to think about our country. I’m grateful for it — every river and mountain and majestic creature. I’m especially grateful for the people, even the ones who are frustrating or have different ideas or don’t want to hear what I have to say. Thanks to everyone who takes the time to listen (and especially, to read) during the year, the ones who support me and the ones who don’t. You all help me learn something every day. Especially on Independence Day.

Reach Cecil Hurt at or 205-722-0225.


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