When Tragedy Hits Rivalries Disappear

There’s a beauty in tragedy often forgotten when the world wakes up from the nightmare.

The humanity displayed in times of peril will never fill the holes in hearts tragedy so vehemently punctures. But, for a moment, the humanity gives belief through the darkest walks of life there is light.

Ada-Borup junior lineman Carter Peterson died in a car accident Sunday night. His father was a first responder to the scene.

Humanity answered.

Ada-Borup students told stories. The Cougars football team made a circle with players from Cass Lake-Bena before Wednesday’s football game and had a ceremony before players from Cass Lake-Bena hugged the Peterson family.


At the 50-yard line at Ada-Borup was the number he wore for football. His football coach, Paul Tinjum, said, “He would do anything for anyone that needed help no matter who they were. He just went through life having fun and being kind to everyone he met.”



At rival Waubun, the football team wore his number on their helmets.



In Ulen, Ada-Borup rivals Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal and Norman County West joined on the field for a moment of silence before a football game. 



Before a volleyball match between Norman County West and Ada-Borup, each Norman County West player brought a flower over to an Ada-Borup player and hugged them.



Wednesday was supposed to be “Senior Night” for Ada-Borup football. The seniors refused. Instead of honoring the seniors, after Wednesday’s 45-0 win over Cass Lake-Bena, the players and parents had cake and ice cream and told stories about Peterson. The Cougars played the first play of every phase of the game one player short to honor Peterson.

“The outpouring of emotion from his classmates, coaches and all school staff has been incredible,” Tinjum said. “The players insisted that we make this as much of a celebration of Carter’s life as possible before, during, and after the game.”

These things will not bring Peterson back.

The shirts that say “Play for Peterson” that NCE-U-H coach Dustin Flaten is having made with all sales going to the Peterson family won’t stop the pain. The stickers Waubun coach Paul Clark is spreading throughout the sub-district for each team to wear on its helmets won’t end the sorrow.

The money raised by boosters, the gifts, the retired jersey, the balloons released into the sky will not fill the holes in hearts, especially to his father, Randy, mother, Chasity, his brother, Matthew or his sister, Emma.

But there’s no value that can be placed on confirming the belief in humanity for the people left behind to deal with life’s destructions. These small gestures are invaluable for those of whom will eventually wake up from tragedy’s nightmare and rebuild.