Our Opinion: Red Wing honoring of Fischer a reflection of community

Published 8:34 am Monday, September 11, 2017

We can’t say enough about a simple gesture by the Red Wing student body and football team Friday night.

While it involved nothing more than wearing red, it was nevertheless a gesture the entire community of Red Wing should be proud of.

We certainly are here.

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Austin eventually went on to win big, 43-8, moving the Packers to 2-0, but in some ways it’s still a side story to a larger issue. As the Packers move on with their season, the team is also still dealing with the untimely and tragic death of freshman Chris Fischer who passed away after suffering a heart attack during practice.

It’s never easy for a team, a school or a community to deal with the death of one of its own, nor can anyone pretend what the family of Chris is going through during this difficult time.

And yet, while the Austin School District is finding support both inside the school and the community, they are also finding support from outside as well.

A banner greeted Austin fans and players Friday night, signed by Red Wing students, proclaiming: “Wingers Stand with Austin. In Memory of Chris Fischer.”

The student body dressed in Packer red in a further show of support and the football team wore red tape on their helmets in memory of Chris.

Wingers head coach Nate Freir voiced this support in a touching manner after the game, extending his and the team’s support past the final buzzer of Friday’s game.

“It was really important for us to do that,” said Freier. “Unfortunately, I went through a very similar situation in my coaching career, so I know exactly what Austin is going through. I talked to the coach and the AD about it earlier in the week. And if they need anything, not just tonight, but going forward, I’m there for them. Because it’s a tough thing for any team, group of kids and community to go through. I really feel for them and hats off for them for competing tonight through a tragedy.”

Throughout this tragic period plenty of support has flooded from within Austin; a reflection of the community spirit Austin has demonstrated so often before when tragedy strikes. There have been moments of silence throughout. Before the start of Lyle-Pacelli’s home football game against Spring Grove on Friday night there was a moment of silence by the teams and fans in memory of Chris.

We tip our hat to the town of Red Wing, which should be proud of what their own students and athletes did Friday night. Their touching tribute to Chris has shown Red Wing, Austin and the entire state that football truly is more than a game.