By Darren Zancan

Writing a sports column and being an actor have some similarities.You may sit in your dorm room asking yourself, what is this guy talking about?

Acting and sports are opposites. Ok, if I tried to pawn off on you that pretzels taste like a Chicago style hot dog, then you can call me crazy. Or if I tried to tell you Ben Affleck in the movie Forces of Nature deserves a major movie award, then you can call me nuts.

But being an actor, as I am, is a different adventure every time you step on the stage, simply because your character can be serious, over-the-top funny or so boring that Ben Stein seems like the funniest guy on television.

Columns can be the same. I sit down after a week of picking a topic and decide how I should characterize this piece.

My heart and mind took me to a more serious side of the sporting world this week.

Brett Favre’s dad suffered a heart attack and died on December 21, 2003. Favre, then a Green Bay Packer, went out the next night passing for 399 yards with four touchdowns , en route to a 42-7 win over the Oakland Raiders.

Michael Jordan lost his dad on July 23, 1993 after James Jordan was shot and killed. Jordan would retire from basketball.

Bree McMahon hadn’t played a minute of soccer for the girls’ soccer team at Freedom High School in Orlando, Fl., this season.

During a car wash fundraiser, a teammate got into a car, but her foot slipped and she hit the gas, pinning McMahon between a bumper and a brick wall. Her legs were crushed. She lost her left leg.

McMahon forgave her teammate. When she made it to the final game of the season, the team played with inspiration but just being there was not enough for McMahon. She got out of her wheelchair and walked with the help of her crutches, on her loaner leg, across the field.

Why is all of this important?

Because in the face of great tragedy comes great strength and motivation.

When it seems absolutely impossible to lace up the shoes or put on a jersey, some remarkable feeling comes out of nowhere lifting people to temporary, or long-term, greatness.

This past week hundreds of thousands of people lost their lives during a deadly earthquake in Haiti, including a University of Virginia student.

Several college and professional athletes are natives of Haiti and are giving to financial contributions to help with relief efforts.

Samuel Dalembert, of the Philadelphia 76ers, donated $100,000 to the relief fund.

Dwayne Wade and a host of others have stepped up, even though they have no direct ties to Haiti.

Inspiration sometimes replaces selfish actions. Too often do we turn on the television to hear of another athlete with a gun story.

Or college coaches getting another DUI.

The list goes on and on.

The reality is athletes are humans too. We lift college athletes and professional athletes up onto a pedestal. But tragedy hits them just like it hits us; we just hear about it in the news more often because of who they are.

For athletes like McMahon, sports are here to take us away from a world of pain because after all there is also grace in the face of adversity.