(WXYZ) — Oxford High School athletics is a member of the Oakland Activities Association. Technically, one of their rivals came up with a way to support the Wildcats and it has now snowballed into an effort being backed by the MHSAA and the MIAAA.
“It was a beautiful sunny day,” Brian Gordon recalled. “We were actually at the building the morning of. We had an athletic directors meeting that morning, at Oxford. We walked out an hour and half before the whole thing went down, so it was a really eerie feeling.”
In a balance between empathy and action, Royal Oak High School athletic director Brian Gordon knew the Wildcat community needed help. He quickly received support from other schools in the MHSAA and members of the MIAAA.
“We thought, we need to do something, this is a member of our league,” said Gordon. “An entire community is in the middle of a crisis.”
That’s when the power of sport comes in. Gordon started a state-wide initiative that has now gained over 100 schools in traction. Each athletic department is selling Oxford Strong tee shirts, either at school or online.
“It has been amazing, the response we’ve gotten,” said Gordon. “There’s no selling a bill of goods here at all.”
Between all the athletic departments, over 100,000 dollars has already been raised. All money raised will be go directly to Oxford High School. Wildcats athletic director Tony DeMare is floored.
“When I called him to tell him we hit the 100,000 dollar mark, you could hear him choke up on the phone,” said Gordon. ”He was so moved by the willingness of others.”
On February 4th, a Stand Up For Oxford night is being held at all sporting events at participating schools. If a fan is wearing a Oxford Strong shirt, most schools will allow free entrance.
“Hanging banners and winning state championships and league championships, stuff like that doesn’t really matter,” said Gordon. “This is about caring for one another, supporting one another, human life is so precious and life is so short.”