The past two weeks have been indescribably difficult for the community of Grantsville in the wake of an unthinkable tragedy: the loss of four members of the Haynie family.
However, in the face of one of the most horrific moments in Tooele County history, the way others have embraced Grantsville and helped to lift its residents up has been truly impressive.
It’s evidence that even though we might all have different ZIP codes, there is but one Tooele County — a community to which we all belong.
Sports can serve many purposes in a time like this. For some, they represent an escape from reality, if only for a little bit. For others, it’s an opportunity to come together and unify behind their team of choice, ignoring the things that divide us outside the confines of a packed high-school gymnasium.
In the past 13 days, even the things that would normally divide people in the sports world — i.e., a different-colored jersey or a different hometown — haven’t mattered much, if at all.
At Tooele High School on Wednesday night, virtually the entire crowd that packed the bleachers for the rivalry basketball game between Tooele and Stansbury donned some variety of Grantsville red. In the span of just a few minutes, fans from both schools combined to raise in excess of $2,000 for the Haynie family. The Stallions wore red and black socks with their regular blue jerseys, while the Buffaloes wore red tape. Cheerleaders from both sides had red ribbons in their hair. Tooele’s drill team, the Sha-Ronns, wore red outfits and dedicated their halftime performance to the Grantsville community. Both student sections broke out in a chant of “Let’s go, Cowboys!”
And that’s only the most recent example. Last week, when the Grantsville girls basketball team played in Morgan, the Trojans’ fans held up red paper hearts during a touching pregame ceremony. The next night, the Morgan and Grantsville boys basketball teams wore matching yellow headbands in honor of the Haynie family, hours after funeral services concluded.
North Sanpete’s wrestling team provided Grantsville’s wrestlers with a meal and expressed its condolences prior to a dual meet last week, as well. So it isn’t just Tooele County, either. It’s the whole state reaching out and lifting Grantsville up in its time of need.
In this moment, we are all Grantsville Cowboys.
Darren Vaughan is a veteran sports writer from Moab, Utah. He continues to be amazed at the sense of community in Tooele County. Email him at email@example.com.